Saturday, August 14, 2010

Eat Pray Love

The Film: Eat Pray Love

The Actors: Richard Jenkins, Javier Bardem, Billy Crudup, Viola Davis, James Franco, and, yeah, OK, Julia Roberts

The Dealio: Travel-writer and all-around emotional wreck, Liz, departs first a marriage (to immature, apparent ADD sufferer, Stephen), then, the arms of method actor, David, making a break for the border. Or, in this case, 'borders': talking Italy, India and Bali. In the book, the last was Indonesia, allowing helpful friends to say, 'If you are all into discovering yourself in places starting with the letter I, why not Indiana, Iowa and Illinois?' Plus, she gets her publishing firm to foot the bill- which is a great gig, if you can get it.
This is a woman who, by her own admission, has never spent more than two weeks unattached to a male. Her profile is that she becomes whoever the partner sees her as being- thereby losing her essential self. This is a plot device with which Julia has some experience (please see The Runaway Bride).
So, off she goes to eat (Italy), pray (India) and love (Bali/Indonesia). And, am I spoiling the denouement if I say that she is pretty successful in all three quests? Um. Sorry.

The Grading Session: 4.81 pengies out of 5. What? You're surprised? Let me justify. First: great soundtrack, which melds pop, old time rock n' rolla and the Brazilian sound (my all-time fave). Next, well, Richard Jenkins. Perhaps you read my review about RJ's back- which outperformed the entire cast of Dear John? If not- shame on you. As 'Richard from Texas', Jenkins steals every scene he is in, merging the aplomb of a guy who hears, 'You look just like James Taylor' pretty much every day, with the pathos and emotion of someone who has scrambled their priorities, lost everything, and yet, re-discovered their soul and happiness. Havin' a moment here, folks.
Javier Bardem is a wonderful mess of contradiction- minus that horrid haircut from No Country For Old Men: jocular, tender, romantic and vulnerable, fatherly and supplicant-sly.
Julia does a nice job on a characterisation which is not naturally very sympathetic (in my humble opinion).
Oh, and after leisurely making her way through the eat and pray portions of the gig, was it just me, or did the love portion seem a bit...rushed?

Lessons Learned: If he makes a mixed tape for you...that means he is serious about the relationship. Also- some people never grow up: I am pointing at Stephen and David, but it seems to me that Liz, herself, could use a few shots of human growth hormone, too. Lastly- editing rules...and a really smart soundtrack covers a lot of flaws. Kinda like the primer and foundation of the entire deal--not to have a Sephora moment over here.

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