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Eat Pray Love

September 27, 2010

Eat Pray Love (2010)
Director: Ryan Murphy
Actors: Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, Richard Jenkins

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Synopsis: Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) leaves her life in New York, to embark on a ‘spiritual’ journey taking her through Italy, India and on to Indonesia.

Review: I’ve seen some pretty interminable Hollywood fluff in my time, but this film – supposedly charting the spiritual odyssey of a disaffected urbanite played by Julia Roberts – really takes the biscuit.

The opening New York section in particular is an absolute joke: a confluence of woeful writing, diabolical acting, and some of the most ill-considered directorial flourishes one could wish to see. Supposedly depicting Roberts’ character’s depression, it shifts from inadvertently hilarious marital breakdown sequence to bizarre slo-mo inspired ‘cougar’ seduction in a matter of minutes. That this is cause for Roberts to embark on her bourgeois voyage of discovery is farce enough, but the story then throws in one of the lamest and most patronising interludes in Italy, as Roberts unoriginally discovers joy in the Italian penchant for great food, a ‘romantic’ attitude and old-fashioned family values.

The subsequent sections in India and Bali are a touch better, but alas they still feature the crux of all the problems in this film – Julia Roberts. I must confess I’ve never really got “Julia Roberts” – being baffled as to what her appeal actually is, seeing her as not staggeringly attractive, a moderate actress, and, most damningly of all for the big screen, uncharismatic. I simply didn’t believe the rebirth her character was supposedly undergoing, and, at the risk of getting personal, I find it ironic that the film espouses weighty spiritual themes of self-acceptance and enjoying the simple pleasures of life, when, to my humble eyes, Roberts seemingly has a face tarnished by collagen and other *possible* forms of plastic surgery, diminishing the ability of the “human” within a given persona to transmit properly. (September 2010)

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