Credibility at stake

The screenplay of Ryan Murphyís Eat, Pray, Love, based on Elizabeth Gilbertís autobiography, is weak and the action is centred on a series of lacklustre incidents

Hollywoodís anything-is-possible formula is not restricted to sci-fi only. Now we have it figuring in real-life dramas. Like Eat, Pray, Love, based on an autobiography of Elizabeth Gilbert, a woman who had everything found for her: a good home, husband, work but she wanted to discover her other self. Hence, thereís travel, sex, love and lots more but it is credibility that is the biggest casualty.

Casting Julia Roberts in the role of Liz is a positive but even Roberts is unable to put across the impossible. This character is so complex that it is all grey and she finds it hard to be convincing in even one of those many facets. In fact, one reviewer says he would have liked to read an epilogue as to what Ms Gilbert is currently doing.

We also know that movies are meant to give certain locales a touristy boost and this happened even before If Itís Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium.

Elizabeth Gilbertís character is so complex and grey that it is difficult to find Julia Roberts convincing in even one of those many facets
Elizabeth Gilbertís character is so complex and grey that it is difficult to find Julia Roberts convincing in even one of those many facets

Therefore, Liz (Roberts) decides to travel and goes from Italy to India and then to Indonesia, eastwards, probably knowing that the Orient is steeped in religion and mental solace. In a way, like the hippies of the late-1960s, she has planned a "voyage of discovery."

What eventually transpires, however, is not exactly the same. After discarding her husband Stephen (Billy Crudup), she enters into an affair with a hottie star David (James Franco), an even more interesting Filipe (Javier Bardem), who seems to take up from where he left off in Vicky, Christina Barcelona. For dramatic relief, there is an elderly Texan Richard (Richard Jenkins).

In Italy, it is food that is her priority and she indulges in pizzas, pasta and macaroni. In India, it is yoga and meditation but the Indian ambience is rather perfunctory, though Diela Shiraz (Viola Davies) does a fetching cameo. In Bali, the ambience is far better but that places like Bali and Hawaii are already too well known.

The idea is probably one with scope but it could have been handled more effectively. The screenplay by Ryan Murphy and Jennifer Salt is very weak and the action is centred on a series of lacklustre incidents. Robert Richardsonís camerawork is impressive and he has enough scope to showcase his talent but the acting is sub-standard. Julia Roberts is still saleable two decades after her Pretty Woman entry and Javier Bardem is his usual competent self. But James Franco sticks out like a sore finger and Dario Marinelliís music score tolerable in this much-hyped romantic comedy.





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