Eat, Pray, Love (Julia Roberts?!)

Eat, Pray, Love (Julia Roberts?!)

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Just in case you’ve been hiding out far from any kind of media then perhaps you haven’t heard of “Eat, Pray, Love”. First it was a book and now is a movie starring Julia Roberts in the major role. OK, I admit it, I read the book. Sure, it’s “chick lit” but I’m a reasonably romantic soul and there was a lot of it that I liked. Here’s a thumbnail synopsis: female writer has marriage crumble and repeats with ricochet lover. She decides to feed her soul by traveling for a year with third in Italy (the Eat part), one third in India (the Pray part) and the last third in Bali (the Love part). That’s it.

So who do they choose for the role of the somewhat confused and even emotionally tenuous writer but (drum role) Julia Roberts – who is absolutely wrong for the role. First of all she is too old and second she’s not good at playing a vulnerable person. Did you see her in Erin Brockovich? This is a woman that kicks ass and takes names. I have nothing against strong older women. I mean Susan Sarandon still makes me weak in the knees and she’s definitely a strong older woman. It’s just that it’s the wrong recipe for this part. So what are my problems with the movie. She spends 4 months in Italy – ah, I loved the scenes and the feel of it – but she demonstrates her terrific grasp of Italian by ordering enough food to feed a herd of elephants. I guess they had to make the order really big so that enough Italian words would spill out of her mouth since that’s about the only time she uses the language at all. And big deal ( ! ) almost any serious foodie could do the same thing without knowing how to ask where the bathroom was in Italian.

Second dissappointment: in India, the most interesting part of the book for me, is given short almost cartoonish treatment in the movie. In the book she has some seriously profound experiences on her spiritual quest but it’s hardly touched on in the movie. I do like the character of the Texan though. He seems much like the character in the book. In Bali she runs into Javier Bardem who always seems to be good and naturally she is coaxed back into the realm of love. Not a bad ending but doesn’t come close to making up for all of the flaws in the movie.

There was one thing that I liked in the movie that took my breath away as the lovely D can attest. Early on in her stay in Rome she is walking along the street and sees a woman use one of the common utilitarian fountains found there.  I remember those fountains so well. They’ve probably been there since the Romans.  Water is constantly running out of the faucet into the drain. But there’s something special about it. If you put your finger over the opening of the tap then water is forced out of a hole and makes an instant water fountain. So Julia tried using it as a fountain using the woman’s example.  I think that she squirts herself rather than getting it into her mouth. So sitting in the movie I gasped when that brief scene occurred – but of course it’s not worth seeing the movie for just that. If you are in Rome give it a try – pretend you’re wearing a toga.

So if you’ve seen this chick squared flick (chick flick based on chick lit) then share your opinion. Maybe we can have a popcorn fight here.

2 Responses to “Eat, Pray, Love (Julia Roberts?!)”

  1. Dana Says:

    Hi Joe,

    I also remember those fountains, but I did not try drinking from them. I was afraid I would manage to get more water on me than in my mouth – just as you describe!

    The book is on my list when I get back to the states, but you have described the movie the way I imagined it. Without having read the book I wondered if Julia Roberts was the right actor for the starring role. She is great but she doesn’t seem to do “vulnerable” well (my opinion only folks). So you have just confirmed that I had good reason to doubt the movie.

    Of course, I am not seeing movies or reading much beyond site descriptions and train schedules. Today Toscana, next week Roma and those fabulous fountains.


  2. Joe Says:


    I can’t really recommend seeing the movie although I do recommend the book. It has some squishy bits but overall the good outweighed the bad. Ah, Rome. What a great city. Do try one of those fountains again (maybe get a photo?) and maybe take a romp in the Trevi fountain like Anita Ekberg in “La Dolce Vita” – definitely get a photo of that ;^)


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