Sunday 3 October 2010

Movie Review: Eat Pray Love (2010)

As a study in nauseatingly indulgent self-absorption, it is difficult to compete with Eat Pray Love.

The character of Elizabeth Gilbert (Julia Roberts) is quite the terrible role model to occupy the centre of any movie. She is only able to see the negative in her privileged life, incapable of facing the challenges of adulthood, unwilling to deal with the consequences of her own decisions, and convinces herself that running away is a good solution.

Based on the autobiographical book by the real Elizabeth Gilbert, the 134 minute movie proceeds at a pace that snails would find slow, and includes a lot of talk about finding "balance", defining your life with a single "word", and "loving yourself". There is of course a starry eyed audience for such nonsense, people who find a lot of time to complain about their lives instead of investing in the happiness that comes with accountability.

As for the actual story, after endless whining, Gilbert dumps her loving husband and her seemingly successful New York life to go look for herself. She first falls into the bed of the first guy she sets her eyes on before her divorce is even finalized, a struggling New York actor (James Franco).

Then she dumps him and embarks on a round-the-world trip. In Rome she eats pasta and pizza and meets some happy people. In India she worships the picture of a guru and meets a crusty Texan with a sob story to match her own. And in Bali she meets a toothless Yoda-like character who spouts warmed-over morsels of wisdom with the depth of stale fortune-cookies. She finally falls in love with a hunk from Brazil (Javier Bardem), but not before screaming at him that she does not need to love him to prove that she loves herself. Perhaps nauseatingly indulgent self-absorption is too kind a description for Gilbert's journey.

The harsh truth is that almost everything that Gilbert does in Rome, India and Bali she could have easily done in New York City while keeping her marriage and life intact, if only she stopped complaining and got on with the business of living and finding pleasure within. 

The only reason to keep watching Eat Pray Love is a relatively good performance from Julia Roberts, who is several notches above the material. Otherwise the film tries, and fails, to find meaning in close-ups of pasta plates, endless scenes of meditation, and travel brochure scenery.

Eat Pray Love is a frivolous recipe for cowardice camouflaged in the language of psycho-babble selling non-existent short-cuts for self-empowerment.

All Ace Black Blog Movie Reviews are here.


  1. It didn't matter how good Julia Roberts's performance was, i still loathed this film. What an awful woman this Elizabeth was and is. I couldn't help but seethe when watching this. Not many films make me angry, but is one of them. I would have given it 1 out of 10. 1 just for the location shots. And as great an actress Julia Roberts is, some of her roles are questionable and leave a lot to be desired. This one being one of them.

    1. I'm fully with you. There are few movies I despise more than this one. The self-indulgent "I need to find myself" nonsense of a privileged woman makes me almost physically sick.

  2. and yet she keeps harping on and on about finding herself and discovering who she is - yet she sleeps around with the next guy she sets her eyes on. this movie sickened me. i've never been into Pretty woman, runaway bride and many of her other films, but this one was the worst and the biggest mistake Julia Roberts has made in her acting career. if this didn't kill her career, it should have.

    and that is despite of her being a sweet and nice person, based on the interviews I've seen Julia in.

    I hated this film so much I gave it a zero rating out of 10 on my blog.


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