I went to see Eat Pray Love today and, I must tell you, I was not the only male in the theater. Now, I can’t say that all the maybe eleven solo men in the theater were single. It’s just that they were there to watch the movie. And, I watched a winner!
Everything about the movie was, from what I am now told by many women, was a clear depiction of the book by Elizabeth Gilbert. But, there were a couple of things I did not like about the movie. I did not read the book. And I am sorry. In the opening scene, Julia Roberts and her husband, Billy Crudup, attend a party thrown by Viola Davis and her husband. To make a long story short, when Viola Davis, Julia’s (Liz’s) friend appears, she breaks up Julia and her husband by handing Julia’s husband her black baby. What was so disturbing to me was how Julia’s husband held or did not hold the baby. From the time he was handed the baby to the time Julia and Viola reappears on the screen, this time with Viola’s husband, Julia’s man has the baby extended from his person and is looking at the child as if it is an alien. It was very clear that both couples knew each other very well. However, the screen showed me an immediate disconnect from Billy. I didn’t take it that he didn’t want to be bothered with the child. He just didn’t want to be bothered with that child. As the movie continued, I kinda began to piece together Billy’s feelings towards everything. In saying that he only wanted and needed Julia, he just didn’t want to have any part of her life. Selfish, self-centered, call it what you may. The character that Billy Crudup portrayed showed me that he truly had no love for his wife at all. He only liked the status that he had with her…being bonded with her.
Many women have fallen in love with James Franco’s character, while I saw him as potentially abusive. Although he may have been loving and supportive, he too was just like Julia’s ex-husband, self-centered. I was so glad that she got over him. The character that I would have liked to see more of a bond with Julia is Richard Jenkins’s character, “Richard from Texas.” This could have even been something on a romantic level – since it was hard for me to see any real age group that Liz fit into. I know that she wasn’t elderly, but she could have bonded with anyone of any age…just as long as they didn’t need a walker. Richard from Texas, to me, was the first and only true male to explain his life’s happenstance. It was after he recanted his story upon the rooftop of the ashram that Julia made her discovery. And that was wonderful! I think Liz was more therapeutic for Richard from Texas than the entire ashram scene itself was. Was it really about the meditation or was it about using another challenged soul to spill your secrets to? I laughed when Liz tried to take on a role another member of the ashram had already done so effectively. It was all to easy for Liz to relinquish any attempts at silence once she was asked to act as a guide for newcomers. She knew that the silent thing wasn’t for her. But she was willing to try it out until something else came along.
A lady friend of mine reminded me of a scene from “How Stella Got Her Grove Back” when Angela Basset and Taye Diggs were on the beach dancing. I must admit, this did become familiar with me with the exception of Javier Bardem (an older gentleman) being present as a potential love interest in Eat Pray Love. Creepy, in a way, as he allows Liz to go off with the younger gentleman (who she turns down sadly, especially after he reveals his totally nude body to her) only to be shown as a stalker or voyeur. There is, afterwards, a love connection. Ten years of penned up frustration and insecurity finds Felipe ready to commit to a woman, after his 19-year-old son tells him he is ready. Julia enjoys the thrill, but is not completely sold on his antics. She should have been sold. I mean, who wouldn’t have been. This guy had everything. A career, money, a child who adored him and who he adored, single…was she crazy? Apparently, yes she was. Why did it take her making a final visit to Ketut, the medicine man of Bali, two hours before she is to leave the island to be told she has made a grave mistake by letting Felipe go? I could not for the life of me understand what she was so afraid of. Here it is, after she refused to go on sailing expedition with the man who had bared his soul to this soul-searching woman, she was ready to leave the place she came to for enlightenment having lied to herself that she had been healed. Had Ketut not informed Liz of her mistake, she would have headed back to New York the same pitiful person she was from Italy and India.
In India, I was a bit dismayed with Liz when she knowingly told a 17-year-old girl that her arranged marriage would work out just fine. But, then again, what could she really have done? Could the girl really have spoken out to her parents about the arrangement…possibly becoming disowned by them? At the girl’s wedding ceremony, Richard from Texas and Liz witnessed the disheartened event. Liz nearly broken down as she realized that she had lied to the girl – only to offer her little comfort by telling the girl she had sent her a “guruhita.” This was probably some “work in progress” prayer – as Liz tells the girl that she prayed for her and her husband to be happy together. The colors in the wedding were very beautiful.
Italy was the true love for me! The food was the connection to everything. Liz befriends, Sofi, a swedish attorney she met in a bar, and the two set off on this incredible journey that showed Liz at her strongest. Not only does she advise Sofi to relinquish her fear of gaining weight by over indulging in the most delectable dishes I have ever seen, Liz stands up for herself to Giovanni’s mom – who calls her a lesbian at Thanksgiving dinner. I could have stayed in Italy for the duration of the movie. What set the tone for the Italian adventure was the barbershop scene where a quite honest, but boisterous man, tells of how American don’t know how to live. The best lesson of the movie!
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Julia Roberts shined throughout the movie, but for some reason I kept seeing Angelina Jolie in her place. I didn’t know Brad Pitt’s affiliation with the film until the credits rolled. Yes, I did watch the credits. The music was incredible as I do hope the soundtrack will be promoted for it. I will never get Angelina out of my mind when I go to watch Eat Pray Love again. I do plan to watch it again and I will buy the DVD. Was Angelina the intended star for this movie? Will we ever know? Did she turn it down at the last-minute or something? I know Elizabeth Gilbert said that she was happy to learn that Julia Roberts was playing her in the film. I just have reservations now about who the intended star was first. Why did Brad produce the movie? Makes me wonder.
People want to talk about how this is a spiritual film. The movie becomes spiritual when we see Julia (Liz) on her knees and praying to God, asking him what she should do about her unhappiness. Everything else appeared to just be visual effects.
Men, go see the movie! You will not be disappointed – even after all that I have said.