Friday, October 8, 2010

Julia Roberts: Eat Pray Love


Julia Roberts in her new movie "Eat Love Pray"

Eat Pray Love Theatrical Release Poster
Eat Pray Love, originally uploaded by cookiecole.

Julia Roberts in Eat Love Pray movie poster

The movie ‘Eat Pray Love’, based on the memoir ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert, and co-written and directed by Ryan Murphy opened in USA on August 13, 2010.

Eat Pray Love stars Julia Roberts (as Elizabeth Gilbert), Billy Crudup (as Steven, Gilbert's former husband), James Franco (as David), Javier Bardem (as Felipe, a man Gilbert falls in love with on her journey), Viola Davis (as Delia, Gilbert's best friend), Richard Jenkins (as Richard, a Texan whom Gilbert befriends at an Indian ashram), Rushita Singh (as Tulsi, Gilbert's best friend at the Indian ashram), Christine Hakim (as Wayan, Gilbert's best friend in Bali), Anakia Lapae (as Tutti, Wayan's daughter), Arlene Tur (as Armenia, Wayan's best friend), Hadi Subiyanto (as Ketut Liyer, Gilbert's advisor in Bali), Tuva Novotny (as Sofi, Gilbert's best friend in Rome), and El Hadji Diouf (as Koko, a man Gilbert meets in Senegal).

Elizabeth (Liz) Gilbert had ecerything a modern woman dreams about achieving – a successful career, a husband, and a nice house, and yet, like several other women, she found herself lost. She realizes she is not getting what she wants out of life, and opts for a painful divorce. Now at crossroads, she gets out of her comfort zone and embarks upon a journey, a quest for self-discovery that takes her around the world. In the process she discovers the joys of eating in Italy and the power of prayer and meditation in India. Finally, and unexpectedly, she discovers true love in Bali, Indonesia.

From August 2009, Eat Pray Love began filming in at locations that include New York City, Naples (Italy), Pataudi (India) and Bali (Indonesia). A few Balinese were used in the production, though the two Balinese lead characters (Ketut Liyer and Wayan) are played by non-Balinese actors.

The film has received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gave an overall approval rating of 38 per cent, stating, "The scenery is nice to look at, and Julia Roberts is as luminous as ever, but without the spiritual and emotional weight of the book that inspired it, Eat Pray Love is too shallow to resonate."

Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe gave the film 3 out of 4 stars. San Francisco Chronicle film critic Mick LaSalle overall positively reviewed the film and praised Ryan Murphy's ‘sensitive and tasteful direction’.

In The Huffington Post, critic Jenna Busch wrote, “Eat Pray Love is ultimately charming and inspirational. Though it doesn't have quite the impact of the book, it will likely leave you pondering your life choices and forgiving your flaws. It will certainly have you forgiving the few flaws in the film. The performances are just too fantastic, the vistas too lovely to pay too much attention to anything else.”

In the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, journalist Curzio Maltese wrote, “How many platitudes fit in a two-hour-twenty-minutes-long movie? Several, if Eat Pray Love is anything to go by… Goes without saying that the story would've surprised us more if Julia had found out how well one can eat in Mumbai, how much they pray in Indonesia, and how one can fall in love even in the Grande Raccordo Anulare, possibly avoiding rush hour.”

Expecting a huge box-office response, the film’s marketers created over 400 merchandising tie-ups, to sell products such as jewelry, perfume, tea, gelato machines, an Indonesian bench, prayer beads, etc. But, marketing a wide range of products not actually featured in the film brought criticism from the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Washington Post and the Huffington Post.

Audiences too had a sharply divided opinion; some viewed it as ‘inspirational and moving’ and others saw it as a celebration of a ‘shallow’ woman's narcissism. However, the film, made on a budget of $60 million has so far grossed approximately $120 million at the box office.

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