"Eat Pray Love" DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

11/27/2010 Posted by Admin

"Eat Pray Love"

DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

Directed by Ryan Murphy, written by Murphy and Jennifer Salt, 133 minutes, rated PG-13.

By Christopher Smith

Though many movies have explored Eastern culture and juxtaposed it against the American experience, there still is something to learn from "Eat Pray Love," especially since it repeatedly challenges our culture and questions what’s important in life.

Based on Elizabeth Gilbert's Oprah-fueled best-selling memoir, the film is a travelogue of despair and enlightenment. It's slick entertainment with just enough depth to make it engaging.

In its most streamlined form, the movie explores what happens when one woman comes undone by her own mistakes, and then gets it together again when she leaves her husband (Billy Crudup), dumps her boyfriend (James Franco), and goes on a spiritual journey that involves pizza, Italy, ice cream, India, prayer, a hot man (Javier Bardem), Bali and meditation. Lots of meditation.

The woman in question is Liz Gilbert, a successful writer played so appealingly by Julia Roberts that she helps you to overlook how manufactured the film is.

With its wheels greased, the movie zips from point A to point B without a shred of surprise. Still, tucked within the predictability are excellent performances, a message that matters, and in the end, perhaps a few reasons to reflect on what matters in your own life. Add to this some gorgeous vistas and the commercialized dream of finding that magical box of Calgon to take you away, and you have an entertaining movie that balances fantasy with something meaningful and real.

Beyond the festive globetrotting, this is a movie lifted by its terrific supporting performances, including Richard Jenkins as a troubled man seeking inner peace and depth in New Delhi. When he spars with Liz, those moments are alive with mounting frustration and eventually friendship.

In Italy, Giuseppe Gandini, Andrea Di Stefano, Tuva Novotny and Luca Argento all leave behind memorable characters. But it's Hadi Subiyanto's tricky performance as a toothless Bali psychic that's most satisfying. While there's no denying that this endearing elderly gentleman comes off as a human Yoda, there's also no question that Subiyanto has real comic timing and an easy chemistry with Roberts that ranges from funny to touching, but not cloying.

Finally, Roberts should be commended for toning down her bag of tricks. She gives an honest performance, mostly letting go of everything audiences have come to expect from her--her impossibly wide smile, that barking laugh of hers, the tough edge she's embraced in later films--in favor of conveying the highs and lows of Gilbert's personal journey. This could have just been another slight Julia Roberts movie, but the actress obviously took a cue from the book's themes and was shrewd enough to dig deep, find her center and offer something reasonably rich and satisfying.

Grade: B

View WeekinRewind.com's video preview of "Eat Pray Love" below:

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  1. Anonymous said...

    nice post. thanks.