This Week at the Movies: Eat, Pray Love

This Week at the Movies: Eat, Pray Love

Will Hazzard

The “chick flick” is a staple in any moviegoer’s experience. It’s pretty common to see the story of a woman with everything and nothing who finds true love and happiness and by the time the credits roll, half the audience is clutching their tissue boxes. It’s a simple formula that women (and a few men) love and will always enjoy despite the fact that it’s basically the same movie you’ve seen time and again. Eat, Pray, Love, directed and adapted for the screen by Ryan Murphy, is such a “chick flick.” It’s not a truly revolutionary film, not even for its genre, but it is interesting enough to not completely discredit.


Simply put, Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) is getting a divorce from her husband of eight years because she no longer feels happy and thinks that their ambitions no longer align. Soon after, she quickly falls in love with a young actor (James Franco), but then quickly realizes that this too is failing and that she is not happy. She then decides that the only way she can discover her true self, her happiness and her spirituality is to drop everything and travel to Italy, India and Indonesia for a year. At this point, the film divides into three separate segments depicting her travel and experiences in these places, learning a little more about herself in each one until she reaches the point of catharsis at the end. Once again, the movie follows a lot of the same basic plot points of any chick flick, but it takes a little longer to feel good in this one. Liz’s journey is hard. She seems to be constantly berated by people asking why she is alone, yet it is clear she has yet to discover the courage to move on. Then again, it’s hard to pinpoint what it was that made her so unhappy in the first place. The movie can be difficult to relate to and one has to wonder why she can’t just get over herself. All in all though, you’ll still feel pleased when the movie reaches its climax.


The real place this movie shines is in its presentation. Narrow streets of Rome, the hustle and bustle of the Indian streets and the tropical vistas of Bali are enough to make anyone long for an exotic vacation. The sweeping shots and dramatic scope truly capture the wonder of a foreign place and keeps up that wonder for the entire movie. A good chunk of this movie is also basically food porn. After watching the characters eat every form of pasta, pizza and exotic fruit it’s hard not to be hungry. Mix that with a solid soundtrack that is heavy on the Neil Young and a brilliant use of lighting, it makes the movie a visual pleasure to behold.


Eat, Pray, Love is certainly not a bad movie, but it’s not a particularly great movie either. Plus, it’s very long. With a run time close to two and a half hours, any sympathy one feels for the characters can be lost to a mild case of boredom. If your mom’s still in town and you want to spend some quality time together or if you’ve been looking for a good movie to see with that special someone, then Eat, Pray, Love would be the perfect choice. However, if you’re looking for a movie to just enjoy yourself at because you have time to kill, you might want to try something a little different.