Julia Roberts, Billy Crudup, James Franco, Richard Jenkins




Eat Pray Love



“Eat Pray Love” is a film that was written by adolescents trying to imagine what grownup life would be life.  There isn’t a mature thought in its interminable two and a half hours.  It reminded me of the cover story in last week’s New York Times Magazine by the New Yorker writer Daphne Merkin, who details at great length why she’s been in analysis since she was ten years old.  She’s now in her fifties.  Wouldn’t you think forty years was enough?  If you’re not going to grow up by your fifties, it’s probably never going to happen.  I felt the same way about the character Liz Gilbert, the forty-year-old woman in “Eat Pray Love.”


“Eat Pray Love” (without the commas that separated them in the book) is the story of Liz Gilbert, (Julia Roberts), a woman who deserts her husband (Billy Crudup) and  her marriage of fifteen years for no reason that we can see, and takes a year to spend time in Italy, India and Bali.  On the way she also leaves her new boyfriend (James Franco) and finds a friend in Rome, as both of them pack on the pounds of pasta while lamenting their growing waistlines.  Then it’s off to an ashram in Calcutta, where Liz finds it hard to concentrate on being nothing; she just has too much baggage.  Fortunately she meets a scruffy older man (Richard Jenkins) who calls her ‘groceries’ and encourages her to get with the program, until his own tragedy can’t be hidden anymore and he tells her his own secrets.


Now it’s off to Bali, where she meets Javier Bardem.  You’d think that would be enough for any woman, but no, she is about to leave him as well, when her calendar age (43) swoops past her emotional age (12) and she realizes that he’s the man for her.  End of movie.


There are many imponderables in “Eat Pray Love,” starting with the absence of commas, but no matter.  More important is Bardem’s telling Liz that he’s in the import-export business and so can do it from anywhere in the world, except that he has to do it from Bali.  “Can we have a New York/Bali relationship?” he asks.  If I were you I wouldn’t hold my breath.