The movie “Eat Pray Love” is based on the memoir of the same name by Elizabeth Gilbert. The book’s subtitle is: “One woman’s search for everything across Italy, India, and Indonesia.” Although the book is entitled “Eat, Pray, Love,” the film studio decided for some reason to omit the commas in the title. Nevertheless, it is always good to see that the cast includes Julia Roberts; it signals that it will be a great movie. The film has three geographical settings. Eat takes place in Rome, Pray takes place in India, and Love takes place in Bali. The scenery, of course, is beautiful and is almost as good as being there.
Writer Elizabeth Gilbert tells an honest story of her struggle for happiness after finding it necessary to divorce her husband and strike out on her own, even though she harbors strong guilt feelings for her action. Her decision takes her on a lone journey whereby she must live by her wits and in the process learns much about herself.
The Colosseum in Rome
It is fitting that the Eat episode of the film takes place in Rome, where Liz (Julia Roberts) makes friends with the local residents and visits many eating places in Rome. Since I was planning to have dinner after the movie and was somewhat hungry, it was difficult to view the presentation of dozens of sumptuous meals where Liz downed spaghetti, pizza, even turkey with her new-found friends.
The Taj Mahal in India
The Pray section takes Liz to India where she spends time in an ashram, learning the benefits of meditation, and making friends with a fellow traveler, Richard (played by Richard Jenkins), who relates to Liz his difficult past and his reasons for needing this time-out in his life. Liz benefits greatly from her time in India, as I did by viewing the scenery and breathing in some of the wisdom that is put forth in this second portion. I read recently that Julia Roberts has recently become a Hindu after spending time at the ashram in India.
Sunset in Bali
Now we come to the Love part where Liz travels to Bali in Indonesia. We sense that she is a changed person upon her arrival at her last destination. This change allows her to fall in love with Felipe, a divorced Brazilian, played by Javier Bardem. Felipe also falls in love with Liz. Initially, Liz flees from commitment until she speaks with her guru friend who encourages her to surrender to her true feelings.
Eat Pray Love reminded me of another film, “Under the Tuscan Sun,” starring Diane Lane. This film used the same premise of a recently divorced woman traveling to Europe to find new meaning in her life. It was originally a memoir also, written by Frances Mayes.
I remember reading somewhere that the ending of the film is different from the book ending. I must read the book to find out if this is true and also to examine closely the reflections of Elizabeth Gilbert which should come across more noticeably in her writing.
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