Eat Pray Love Parent Guide
I left hungering for something more satiating, wishing for true spiritual inspiration and feeling little affection or sympathy for this character's midlife crisis.
Parent Movie Review
Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) is unhappy. Although she is a writer of travel magazine articles and a published author, she doesn’t seem content. She is also married to Steve (Billy Crudup), a man with whom she shares an eight-year relationship. Yet buying a house and building a home together hasn’t brought the satisfaction she was expecting. And watching her best friend and publicity agent (Viola Davis) obtain her long-anticipated goal of parenthood makes the journalist long for her old dreams of seeing the world, rather than sparking a desire for children.
One sleepless night she tells Steve she doesn’t want to be married anymore. He is shocked and confused—and frankly so are we, the audience. What is so miserably dreadful or unfixable about her life that she should want to abandon it? But this movie is based on the memoirs of the real Liz Gilbert, so whether or not anyone else understands she jumps out of her marriage and leaps into an affair with a twenty-eight year old aspiring actor (James Franco). One cannot help but notice their age difference (I guess the real Liz was only 32 years-old at the time, but the actress Julia Roberts is 43 and looks it), therefore it is no surprise (to us anyway) when this romance fizzles.
Lost and not used to being alone, the now divorced woman decides what she really needs is a journey of self-discovery. Booking a yearlong vacation, she divides her time between Italy, India and Bali. (While the real-life Liz used an advance on her book to finance this adventure, the movie offers little info as to how she’s paying for this privilege.) Her hope is to uncover the elusive secrets behind a peaceful and balanced life.
In Rome Liz digs into learning a new language (with a handsome tutor played by Luca Argentero) and passionately eats the incredible food, washed down with plenty of wine. (Her no-guilt approach to consuming carbs is sure to be appreciated by anyone tired of North American’s obsession with slimness, even if Roberts herself doesn’t appear to put on any weight.)
Amidst the chaos of Calcutta, Liz settles into a religious commune where she plans to pray and meet God. Instead she meets a loudmouth, cussing pilgrim from Texas (played by Richard Jenkins who offers the best performance in the film) and a local teenaged girl torn between her personal ambitions and her parent-arranged betrothal.
Landing at last in Bali, she reconnects with a medicine man (Hadi Subiyanto) she met on a previous work assignment and is introduced to a single mom struggling to provide for her daughter. As well, she has an opportunity to flirt with love when she runs into a sensitive and charming Brazilian, played by Javier Bardem. (Sexual activity is implied as well as briefly discussed, and some male buttock nudity is shown in a scene that doesn’t lead to intimate relations.)
Yet despite her many experiences and the eloquently worded asides she gives describing the things she has learned, there is never a sense that this character has honestly confessed her inner motivations or demons. Rather her narrations about love not lasting forever sound like a self-fulfilling prophesy from a person unwilling to make commitments, and her quest for freedom and self-fulfillment appear more like a façade for excessive selfishness.
And that is a shame because by the time the credits roll on this lengthy (though beautifully shot) movie, I can’t help thinking the things she was searching for were there. Each of the people she meets exemplifies that real joy is found in family life, and the greatest sorrow comes from missing those connections. Her excuses for ending her marriage also pale when compared to the plights of others. However, none of these insights are ever acknowledged or addressed. Although Liz seems to think she’s an enlightened soul by the end of her runaway expedition, I left hungering for something more satiating, wishing for true spiritual inspiration and feeling little affection or sympathy for this character’s midlife crisis.Directed by Ryan Murphy. Starring Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, Viola Davis. Running time: 140 minutes. Theatrical release August 13, 2010. Updated July 20, 2016
Eat Pray Love
Rating & Content Info
Why is Eat Pray Love rated PG-13? Eat Pray Love is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for brief strong language, some sexual references and male rear nudity.
Violence: A car strikes a woman while she is riding a bicycle. Her injuries are minor, and we see a close-up of the bleeding wound on her leg.
Sexual Content: The theme of this film is centered on a woman who leaves her husband to pursue her own desires, which include a sexual affair (the clothed couple are seen kissing and in bed together) while she is still married and a second relationship with another man (again kissing is shown but no other details) after her divorce. A naked man offering an invitation for a swim (and a love affair) is seen from the rear, as well as in a front shot from the waist up. A couple is seen kissing—he has his hand on her abdomen under her shirt. Women are seen trying to zip up tight pants in a clothing store’s dressing room. Sexual relationships, or the lack thereof, are briefly discussed, along with some mild innuendos.
Language: A single sexual expletive, a crude finger gesture (from a child) and two crude terms for sex. Mild sexual innuendo. Approximately a half-dozen scatological expletives, some mild profanities, and at least 10 terms of deity.
Alcohol/Drug Use: Frequent social drinking, sometimes to the point of intoxication. A man jokes about drugs being inside an unusual brand of soda. A woman wishes she had Xanax.
Other: The principal character of this film turns to various Eastern religious sources for help and guidance. Scenes include palm reading and healings by a “medicine woman.”
Page last updated July 20, 2016
More parents' guide for Eat Pray Love after the break...
Eat Pray Love Parents' Guide
This movie, based upon a true story, features a female protagonist who is a writer. What occupations would allow a person to take a yearlong journey around the world? How much information does the movie provide about her financial circumstances? Why is this glossed over?
When Liz celebrates Thanksgiving with an Italian family, what does she say she is grateful for? Why does she fight back tears during this declaration? What do they have that she doesn’t?
How does the greatest regret confessed by Richard from Texas also underscore the importance of family relationships?
What reasons does Liz give for leaving her marriage? Do you think these are the real (or only) issues? How do they compare to the decisions of her young friend in India or the medicine woman in Bali?
As Liz looks at the ruins in Rome she expresses her belief that love cannot last forever. Do you agree with her? Why or why not?
Have you ever wanted to run away from life? Why would you want to go? What things might make you stay?
The most recent home video release of Eat Pray Love movie is November 23, 2010. Here are some details…
Eat Pray Love releases on DVD and Blu-ray on November 23, 2010.
Eat Pray Love: DVD Bonus Features:
- Theatrical and Extended Versions of the film
- Featurette: Ryan Murphy’s Journey with Eat Pray Love
Eat Pray Love: Blu-Ray Bonus Features:
- Theatrical and Extended Versions of the film
- Featurettes: Ryan Murphy’s Journey with Eat Pray Love, Eat Pray Love: The Beginning of the Journey, Finding Balance and Praying in India.