Julia Roberts is at her best in Eat Pray Love

Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling travel diary Eat Pray Love, which had the excellent good fortune to be named an Oprah pick, has been adapted for film by Ryan Murphy, the man behind TV’s breakout hit Glee! What are threads that bind them?  Easy!  An uncompromised feel good attitude, mainstream appeal, bright colors, sensuality, joie de vivre, and music! They’re crowd pleasers and easily accessible. There’s nothing wrong with that!
And for anyone who hasn’t read the book, Murphy‘s film starring Julia Roberts, works as a standalone, as there was no sense of something missing.
  It’s an ambitious project, and covers a lot of ground, literally, emotionally, and spiritually, and Murphy has done a terrific job of aligning Gilbert’s diverse globetrotting experiences into an organic shape.
It begins as many films begin – the lead is unhappy but isn’t sure why.  Liz (Roberts) knows that she has suddenly run dry, that she ‘wakes up blank’ and can’t connect to her former passion for life. 
It takes very little – her husband (Billy Crudup) announcing he wants to study again – for her to walk out on him because she feels he symbolizes the rut that her life has become.  Liz has been hanging on a thread emotionally and it simply gives way. 
Liz drops everything, literally, and undertakes a year long trip to her top three countries (Italy, India, and Bali), to Eat Pray and maybe Love, watch the world unfold and then revisit ‘normal’ life again. 
Liz’ journey is romantic, idealized, and irresistible.  The scenery and food in Italy is sublime, we imagine, watching her enjoy every morsel.  She discovers the pleasure principle of living and eats and naps without guilt.  Then she’s off to India to the ashram of her ex’ guru where life is different, where she scrubs temple floors and lives roughly but happily. 
She meets a troubled but funny Texan (Richard Jenkins) who partners her in her spiritual quest.  Her final journey to Bali brings her to the soothsayer who started her on the journey and handsome Felipe (Javier Bardem). 
Throughout her colorful quest Liz meets healers, soothsayers, gourmets, artists, and adventurers, giving moviegoers a kind of virtual holiday where nothing too bad ever happens.  That’s fine with me.  It is a delightful experience and if people think she has it too easy in her sojourn into the unknown, well, that’s fine, too. 
An interesting aspect of the film is watching Roberts who has truly outgrown her limited America’s Sweetheart days.  She’s older and seems comfortable in her skin.  She hasn’t had much if any work done; she’s not smiling / mugging to fill the screen and she’s a better, more subtle actor. 
And she’s bigger, accepting her larger frame, wearing it proudly and beautifully.  It’s a boon to women everywhere, and part of a recent trend towards the acceptance of normal looking bodies.  We see heavier models, TV shows featuring larger female leads, and celebrities who refuse to go skin and bones.  This movement may render catwalk string beans hopelessly dated.
Roberts is at her most appealing in Eat Love Pray, a fully developed person who is no longer 21 and slave to the image.  As an actor she is brave, beautiful, and meets life head on.  She isn’t afraid to face her troubles and know she tried.
Like Glee, Eat Pray Love is deliciously entertaining.  Murphy and Roberts will be reunited in a comedy for release in 2012 about woman who readjusts to life after losing her job.  I say bring it on.
Written by Ryan Murphy and Jennifer Salt
Directed by Ryan Murphy
Runtime: 2 hrs, 10 min
Cast: Julia Roberts – Liz Gilbert 
I. Gusti Ayu Puspawati – Nyomo 
Hadi Subiyanto – Ketut Liyer 
Billy Crudup – Stephen
Viola Davis – Delia Shiraz
A. Jay Radcliff – Andre
Mike O'Malley  –  Andy Shiraz
Source: (wateen.net)
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