I've expressed earlier my fondness for the book Eat, Pray, Love. I enjoyed it immensely, envied her travels, became interested in Buddhism, and didn't want the book to end.
The movie, not so much. I was in the middle of a pretty stressful situation in my life (and wasn't coping well) when I read the book, and part of me thinks I need to re-read it in my current state. The main character (my beloved Elizabeth Gilbert) struck me as self-absorbed, dramatic, and ridiculous. I read reviews on the book that said as much, but I thought those people were either mean or had no idea what it was like to be anxious and lost.
Looking back, I understand her heartache, but it seems so silly to let that get in the way of all her happiness, and for so LONG. As a grown woman, shouldn't she have been able to see that her relationship with David was unhealthy, exercise some self-control, and stopit already? Why did it matter whether her ex-husband forgave her? But no, we've all got some stupid goofy teenager in us, deep down inside. Those lucky ones who are in a good situation, whether happily married or happily single, can look at the people involved with the wrong partner or hung up on something unhealthy and scoff. Are they really any better? It's so easy to get mired in a bad situation. Your head can take you so far, but once your heart is lost to a situation, it's so hard to get it back. Rather than dive back into her old life, she started a new one.
Julia Roberts perhaps brought a certain level of unlikability to this role, but I enjoy her as an actress, so I can't imagine why. Part of it may be that I feel she's too attractive for the part. I know how Ms. Gilbert described herself, and I've seen pictures of her. She is a pretty lady, to be sure, but no leading lady. Roberts also doesn't bring the emotion to the screen that the book had - Gilbert described night after night of sobbing on the bathroom floor... I've been there, so I related. The movie showed (correct me if I'm wrong) - a single tear? Why on earth should we believe this woman is having a hard time getting over an ex-husband she shed a single tear over? That could have been the fault of the script or director and not Ms. Roberts, I'll admit.
This could have been incredible as an independent film. To really dive into the meat of the material instead of skimming over it - I feel like it's a disservice to the writer and to the book. They turned it into a bouncy tale of a neurotic woman who runs away and ends up falling in love - wait - only to get scared... only to realize she loves him and come running back. Simply put, I didn't care about these characters, even though I loved them in their previous book life (don't worry, I do realize these are actually real people).
In summary, I realize I'm your typical book lover who hates the movie.
A thousand apologies to the two very dear people who gifted this movie to me for my birthday. The thought is, I assure you, no less appreciated.