The EPL Effect – Part 1
Yesterday the much-anticipated movie Eat Pray Love the Movie opened. I attended the first showing (around noon) at the 41st Avenue Cinema in Capitola, CA. If the size of that audience is any indication of the potential box office for this movie, it’s going to be a big success.
I think part of the reason for the almost sold-out crowd is Julia Roberts—an appealing actress, always fun to watch, never schmaltzes up the joint. As usual, she is terrific in this film—warm and real.
The movie has also had great pre-release publicity and lots of merchandising tie-ins. (I did see the blouse Julia wore in a scene in India that is selling now at Cost Plus World Market.)
But I think the main reason for the big draw is of course THE BOOK, which has sold over 7 million copies to date. It definitely struck a chord with women across America. More on that chord later in EPL – Part 2.
First off, I liked the book. It’s well written, funny, personal, and insightful about a range of topics (not just the eating, praying, and love parts). I like Elizabeth Gilbert—from the gist I get of her as a person—from her writing and hearing her speak. I didn’t find her whiny (a common criticism of her book) nor did I find the movie: “Carrie Bradshaw shopping for spirituality”— a criticism of the film.
I liked the movie. And since I brought up SATC II (which I gave a grade of B in my review), I give EPL a B+ because the book filled in the missing scenes and gave the viewing experience more depth.
I also give EPL an E for “enjoyable.” It’s a good story about a woman trying to get on the right path in life after she had veered off into a dead end. It’s a story about a woman with courage to “cross over.” Attraversiamo, Liz!
I also give ELP a P for “profound-ish.” The movie tries to be profound about how to find God/how to find yourself/how to be spiritual/how to forgive oneself/how to move on from emotional devastation—by spouting “bumper sticker” slogans (as mentioned in the movie) about muffin tops, moats, pleasure, work on it, God is you in you kind-of-stuff. More corny than profound and for me this was the weak part of the movie.
Lastly I give EPL and L for “luscious.” This is where the movie excels.
Luscious means “rich sweet juicy taste.” The food scenes are plentiful and yummy. You will crave pasta carbonara by the time you leave the theater.
Luscious means “dramatic and romantic style with strong appeal to the emotions and senses.” The drama and romance are well done. The senses are also well stimulated:
* You can taste the pizza and the zucchini cheese dish (What is that called? Looked totally delish!).
* You can taste the yucky-looking medicinal concoctions in Bali.
* You can feel the red wine buzz.
* You can feel the grit of India.
* You can feel the tropical winds of Bali.
* You can smell the marketplaces.
* Hear some great tunes from the soundtrack that augment the story.
* You can barely breathe the stifling air of the ashram and hear the weird chanting.
* You get to hear the voices of Stephen (the ex-hubby) and David the Actor—as they had no dialogue in the book.
* You can sense the meditations and feel the uneasiness of people trying to connect to something.
* You can see the pain on Stephen’s face.
* You can see the remorse on Liz’s face.
* You can see the love on Felipe’s face.
* You’re touched by the touching scene of Thanksgiving dinner with friends holding hands and giving thanks.
Luscious also means “very desirable physically with a strong and direct sexual presence. Two words: Javier Bardem. Holy moly. Favorite line in the movie:“It’s time, Liz” —as Felipe (a Brazilian) dances Liz toward the bedroom with gorgeous background music playing: a samba version of “’S Wonderful” by João Gilberto (‘S wonderful! ’S marvelous! You should care for me…). Great rendition. Nice touch!
Favorite scene in the movie: Felipe’s affectionate goodbye to his son. So emotional. Get out the Kleenex!
In conclusioni, Eat Pray Love lets you vicariously enjoy a unique vacation with positive life-changing experiences. And you don’t even have to pack a suitcase!
To the cast (Richard Jenkins in particular did an excellent job) and crew, especially the director (and co-screenwriter) RYAN MURPHY, you perked up my summer!