This topic is interesting. Many books have been made into movies. There are only so many original stories that can be told, and usually, the book is way better than the movie. It makes sense. To fit what has been a labor of love over weeks into a pleasurable two hours can be difficult. However, once in a while, there comes a movie that not only does justice to the author, but makes the two hours much more enjoyable than the two weeks. I will argue that this is the case for Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey to discovering herself, played on the big screen by the one and only Julia Roberts.
Now, I have to admit, I was skeptical at first. I liked the book, but I didn’t like it all that much. A friend had recommended it, and I read it. I admired Gilbert’s courage to go and explore the world herself. I admired her candid commentary on what it’s like to go through a bad divorce and a relationship based on infatuation. I even admired her willingness to admit how hard it is to meditate. (Can you tell that I don’t meditate well?) But, really, I was exhausted by her journey, and I didn’t always feel sympathetic to her case. I do, however, think she wrote something important. Oprah gave the woman two days in a row on her couch! She is kind of a big deal.
But back to my skepticism. A movie about this journey? A movie starring Julia Roberts? A movie about a book that I read, but didn’t enjoy all that much? I’m in. (I don’t discriminate much when it comes to movies.) And thank God Julia is back in a movie. It’s been awhile, lady. We missed you. I LOVED the movie. I saw it twice, and I liked it more the second time. I first saw it with my best friend. We decided that the journey is much more enjoyable because, now, we get to see the beauty in everything she sees. We also get less of an inner dialogue and more of her interactions. By hearing and seeing these encounters, I found them much more believable and enjoyable. I don’t even mind that they romanticized a couple of parts of the story, and left out a snag in Bali. It’s not that big of a deal, and by leaving out that snag, we get to focus more on the love story. I’m a sucker for love stories. And btw, can we take a trip to Bali? I mean, really, it’s gorgeous! Both Italy and India are beautiful, but I want a little cabana in paradise where I can dance the night away, and swim in the bluest water I’ve ever seen.
And the men! The gorgeous men. I mean only Julia would have Billy Crudup, James Franco, and Javier Bardem in love with her. It was great in the movie because we saw the full relationships and not just her side of them. These men hurt, too. Also, I really enjoyed Richard from Texas. I loved him in the book, and Richard Jenkins plays him so faithfully and emotionally. I just recently found out that Richard from Texas died last year. How great is it that we all get to meet him in that moment of time, and forever remember him this way?
Julia, you are back! And I think I enjoyed her performance in this movie more than any other film, because I get to see her travel, enjoy herself, and not fall in love until the end. In every other movie, it’s blatantly obvious that she’s a better half of two. In this film, it is all her. And she does it so well. By the time she does fall in love, you want it for her. You want her to find the happiness that she deserves. You want to live vicariously through her paradise love with Javier Bardem. And it’s good! Did you know that Julia was the ticket to get into places to film? They weren’t going to let filming happen in a lot of places, but because it was Julia, they said yes. You wouldn’t even have a movie without her. Crazy.
So, there you go. I thoroughly enjoyed Eat Pray Love. I recommend both the read and the movie, only because you can really appreciate how good the movie is once you’ve read the book. And if you haven’t read the book, go see the movie anyways, in theatres. The scenery is beautiful and fits only on a big screen. And my friend who hadn’t read the book liked the movie, as well. So, no worries. Just go!