Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) has achieved the American dream - she has a successful career, a loving husband, and a quality life. Still, however, she feels unfulfilled and when she finally embraces this fact, she springs into dramatic action. Leaving her husband, Liz embarks on a one year journey that will take her from Italy to India to Bali and back to New York. Along the way she meets a number of new and fascinating people who help her work through the image she has created for herself and discover her true being.
Based on the memoir of the real life Elizabeth Gilbert, "Eat Pray Love" is ostensibly about letting go and forgetting about calorie counting, cultural constraints, and the burden of guilt and worry. All noble conventions, to be sure, but in reality this film pretty much grounds itself in shallow spirituality and the cliche actions of empowered women in film. Roberts, one of my very favorite actresses, plays her role well but there isn't much to work with. Just like his work on "Glee," director Ryan Murphy creates depth-less, one note characters that seem more generic the longer they are on screen. With the exception of Richard Jenkins, whose turn as a rough-around-the-edges-but-kind-hearted recovering addict is inspired, the talented cast of "Eat Pray Love" is under-utilized and their characters are ultimately forgettable. Even Javier Bardem, who always draws attention no matter what role he plays, fails to make much of an impact on the audience.
It is, nonetheless, a beautiful film. The cinematography, architecture, and use of color is at times mesmerizing. Anyone who dreams of starting fresh in a new setting will be tantalized by the stunning visual beauty displayed throughout the 130 minute runtime. But these features combined with the personal appeal of Julia Roberts simply wasn't enough to draw me in and get me invested in the movie as a whole. "Eat Pray Love" tells a bold and viable story but without emotional connection to the tale or the characters that work within it, you're left with a flawed finished product that fails to impress.