To all the haters out there, it doesn’t matter what you say. We love our Julia Roberts. And short of a Mel GibsonSteven Slater-style ape-shit meltdown, that’s never going to change.
Now that she’s back headlining Eat, Pray, Love, we remember why we fell for her in the first place. EPL is a great movie for fans, because she is in nearly every scene with probably less than two minutes of the entire two-hour-plus film not filled with her giant lips, teeth and eyes.
Based on a best-selling memoir, the film finds Liz Gilbert (Roberts) at a turning point in her life. She’s in a dead-end marriage and yearning for something more. After her divorce, she embarks on a yearlong journey of self-discovery that takes her to Italy (Eat), India (Pray) and Bali (Love) in search of meaning in life. Of course, along the way, she finds love, too.
Directed and co-written by one of our favorite gays, Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck, Glee), the film is stunningly shot and made us dream of eating in Italy and traveling to Bali. Each location is more beautiful than the last (well, maybe not India so much) and each third of the movie is so romanticized that it was hard to leave the theater not feeling like quitting everything and going on our own round-the-world quest. Or at least to the Olive Garden for their Tour of Italy platter.
Fair warning for those not planning to snack before the film. The eating scenes are nothing short of food pornography. Everything looks so delectable that we’re sad this is one of the few movies Hollywood decided not to produce in 3-D. At least Smell-O-Rama would’ve been appreciated.
Even though the food and the exotic locales are damn hard to upstage, Roberts is still in full mega-star form, commanding the spotlight no matter what beautiful backdrop she’s plopped in front of. And who wouldn’t want this role? She gets to play every emotion in the book, get paid to eat pizza in Napoli, and showcase her effortless ability to connect with an audience.
The film is a little too long simply from a comfort level (numb butt strikes again), but the slow pace and lengthy scenes where nothing much happens really help to convey the true spirit of her journey. It really feels like we’ve witnessed a yearlong transformation.
Sure, sometimes it’s hard to feel too bad for somebody who has the ability to take a year off from her life and travel the world, but her sadness and courage to find something bigger than herself are universally appealing.
Oh, and there’s a great naked butt scene, too.
Opens today in theatres nationwide