Friday, April 15, 2011

Quickie Review: Eat. Pray. Love. The Movie!

In lew of something new and original due to things popping up: here's a quickie review of Eat. Pray. Love. The Movie!

It was with a bit of trepidation that I went to see Eat, Pray, Love. this morning. I was prepared for a horrible movie but was intrigued by reports of the Indian government trying to make sure the Ashram had some accuracy, the ire of villagers whose Temple was taken over during a major festival, and Julia Robert's Conversion to Hinduism. In the end Eat Pray Love turned out to be a rather average film which had some good moments it its Rome phase but ended in blandness.

*WARNING: Spoilers Below*

The first part of the film set in New York was just awful. To given an example of how bad it was there is a scene featuring a badly written play (by the Protagonist) performed bad actor on stage - the problem was I didn't realize it wasn't part of the film until the camera panned out reviewing it to be a show on stage and some people declaring it to be awful and leaving. If it's hard to tell the normal acting from purposely bad acting - you've got some major problem. The acting thankfully picks up in the Rome, Indian, and Balinese scenes.

The worst bit of acting is turned in by Roberts when her character breaks down because married life is boring and unfulfilling. Roberts just suddenly starts crying, wailing, and grimacing in pain like someone shot and killed her mother in front of her eyes because her life as a globe trotting travel writer with a wealthy but bland and directionless man is boring.

Long story short she gets a divorced, gives away all her money to get the divorce, and goes on a globe trotting adventure where she spends a lot of money. Confused? Well while it's not explained in the film the real life Elizabeth Gilbert was given a huge advance and other perks to go globetrotting and to turn her midlife crisis into a novel.

Ignoring the issues with this, the film actually has a fairly good story as it turns a Midlife Crisis into a Hero's Journey with a Yoda-like (seriously he was compared to that) Balinese Shaman acting as Elizabeth's mentor. Heck it's like they ticked off every step.

The best bits of the film were set in Rome where Elizabeth learns to not be constrained by cultural views and conventions and then a very spectacular scene where she realizes impermanence and constant change by contemplating the ruined and much abused Mausoleum of Augustus. That scene and the realization is the highlight of film and unfortunately the rest of the film cannot keep up after that and feels sort of like an after-note.

The Indian scenes felt disconnected and bland with the exception of the depictions of Monkey Mind. I have to say however that it could have been better for the film to explain Non-Thinking vs. Not Thinking which a character, Richard, somewhat alluded to when explaining mediation.

The ending was disappointing as instead of returning as a independent free spirited woman who defies the constant refrains inferring that 'women need to be married to be worth anything' by several characters she hooks up with a rich Brazilian guy - seemly torpedoing part of the message of the film.

Technically, a lot of the shots seemed to be average or poor with the exception of some extremely beautiful work which seems to have been done by the 2nd or 3rd unit as they were shots not featuring the stars/major actors.

Overall a mediocre movie.


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