Thursday, August 19, 2010

Eat Pray Love

Julia Roberts is the only reason to see Eat Pray Love--and if you're not a fan of hers, there might be no reason to see it. This film had the potential to be informing, or inspiring, or enlightening, but ends up lost in a labarynth of emotion just like its main character. She's found that her life is not just missing something, it's missing everything. So she leaves her job, friends, and world behind to go globe-trotting in seach of...herself.

From time to time we all feel like we need to get out of our box, and so the idea that one can simply leave the troubles of home behind and fly around the world (Rome, Calcutta, Bali) is very appealing. Also, though this is more a patient probe of a woman's heart than a series of interesting events, we never felt bored while we watched; maybe that's a testament to Ms. Roberts' smile or to the curious cast of supporting characters, including Richard Jenkins as a Texas-born Hindu convert.

But when the closing credits rolled, we felt like we'd been cheated. We never got any insight into the relationships, good and bad, that seemed so important to Julia. We never felt like Julia had really been away from home for a year--it seemed more like a couple of weeks on the screen. And, worst of all, we never found out what the meaning of life was, and neither did Julia, evidently. The film ends with her happy and living without regrets, but surely there's got to be more to it than that. After a year of eating authentic Italian cuisine and praying in authentic Indian temples and loving Brazilian men in authentic Indonesian jungles, shouldn't we have learned something we can take from the theater? Was it all for nothing?

Brooke: C+
Grant: C-

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