Let’s just say I didn’t expect to like this movie. I had attempted to read the book. I tried, I really did, but I just couldn’t do it. To be honest, I didn’t give it a red hot go because it just didn’t appeal to me at the time. I’ve found the people who swear by Eat, Pray Love and would just about take a bullet for Liz Gilbert the author, have recently gone through a life struggle of some kind themselves. That doesn’t mean the non-fiction, best seller isn’t fantastic, it’s just that for me, I didn’t identify with it at the time.
And let’s face it, when reading something that mirrors our own experience, it’s fair to say, it’s a lot more interesting for the person doing the reading, than say something that doesn't. So when Elizabeth Gilbert penned her story, which in short, is about her being bored with life, uneasy with her marriage and over her seemingly fantastic career, she resonated with many people.
The movie, from what I understand, omits a lot of the book as often happens when a book gets adapted to screen. Because of this, some of the feelings, the apprehension and the crisis that is supposedly affecting Liz, played by Julia Roberts, aren’t all that obvious in the film.
The movie, like the book, centres around Elizabeth Gilbert, a writer who, again this is how the movie portrays her, seems to have a pretty sweet life traveling from exotic destination to exotic destination penning columns for a magazine. She also has “another book” coming out in the near future. Her professional life is going great. She’s married to an affable guy who hasn’t quite pinned down his chosen career and who is thinking of going back to University to study. Presumably on her dime. He longs for children. She doesn’t.
It’s about this time; Liz interviews an Indonesian medicine man in Bali who tells her 3 things.
She will have two marriages. One long. One short. She will lose all her money. But she will make it back again. And she will come back and visit him again. At this point I wondered if she kind of made the prophecy come true. Like when you see a psychic and she tells you will sell your house, even though it’s the furtherest thing from your mind. Suddenly, something unexpected happens, you see a "sign" and it's time to sell the house. Did he just plant the seed and she watered the garden?
So Liz chucks it all in. Essentially she runs away from her husband, breaks his heart, hooks up with a guy very much her junior within a relatively short period of time and lives with him. That too, although poorly represented in the movie, goes to hell in a hand basket with Liz finding it is not working. She is not happy and she needs to “find herself”.
At total odds with her situation, she plans a year that takes in Italy, where she eats, India, where she prays and Bali, where she finds love. The fact that Liz meets a collective bunch of friends and acquaintances along the way, certainly helps her journey of self-discovery. I wonder what her outcome would have been, had she not met the people she did. Very different I Imagine. Loneliness makes your heart break a little more.
So, did it work? Yeah, it was watchable. The scenery was glorious and made me, a fairly unseasoned traveler; want to investigate the chances of one day seeing some of these beautiful spots, especially Rome. Did it make me want to chuck in my day job, nick off to Italy to feed my face until I burst my jean buttons? No. It made me appreciate that I am happy with my everyday life. But she wasn’t happy with that, and that’s why she did what she did. And no one should judge another when it comes to one’s own personal happiness.
Julia Roberts is well, Julia Roberts. She could lie down in cow dung and make pig noises and she’d still have loyal followers and people to love her. For me, it was all I could see. Julia Roberts. A different actor would have made this movie so different in my honest opinion.
So should you drop a twenty and go see it? Yes and no. If you want a night out with the girls where you get all philosophical on yourselves after wards - YES. If you really don’t have the twenty to waste - NO. Oh, but the soundtrack – a definite YES.
There are over 403 Liz Gilbert Quotes. That’s a lot of self help. For my money, I still think all you need in life is the Sunscreen Song: