Greetings again from the darkness. Though I secretly hoped the tongue-in-cheek comparison of this movie to The Expendables would get me off the hook from writing what I really thought, some of you have requested full comments. The reason I avoided putting any comments down about the film version of Elizabeth Gilbert’s best selling novel was honestly that the movie just really annoyed and even angered me … and my reasons aren’t very politically correct.
Julia Roberts stars as a woman who is on a mission to find meaning for her life. “Logically”, the route to self-discovery is a one year sabbatical with 4 month stints in Italy, India and Bali. Already, I am irritated … Rarely does one need to GO somewhere to FIND their self. If this were necessary, the world would be even a more screwed up place because “dropping out” for a year means we leave our responsibilities, friends and loved ones behind.
Speaking of loved ones. Julia’s character is on a mission to prove she has worth beyond that derived from being partner to a man. So here is her track record over the 2 and a half hours: She dumps her husband who loves her. She dumps the boy toy whose bed she immediately fell into after the divorce. She spurns her Italian interpreter and a lonely Texan and finds herself on a beach with a naked party boy. She spurns Javier Bardem … at least until she reconsiders and realizes that this is JAVIER BARDEM! For someone trying so hard to prove a man isn’t necessary, she spends an inordinate amount of time WITH men.
I realize this was an Oprah-blessed book, but the amount of whining, self-indulgence and narcissism was beyond my tolerance level. Even the choice of director seems pre-fab: Ryan Murphy of “Glee” fame. Talk about going with the flavor of the day.
Caught in the web of thankless supporting roles were Billy Crudup, James Franco, Richard Jenkins, Viola Davis and Hadi Subiyanto as Ketut, the toothless guru. This guru reads Julia’s palm and she immediately decides to throw away her life. When they meet again, this guru doesn’t even remember her! Seriously, you don’t need a guru to tell you to follow the golden rule, that if you give love it will come back to you, and make some time for yourself.
OK, I will admit the film captured the beauty of Italy and Bali. And the music mixture of Neil Young and Mozart (The Magic Flute) helped ease my pain. But overall, this was a year long journey and I felt every single moment sitting in that theatre.