Screenplay by: Ryan Murphy & Jennifer Salt (based on the memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert)
Directed by: Ryan Murphy
Starring: Julia Roberts, Billy Crudup, Viola Davis, James Franco, Mike O'Malley, Richard Jenkins, Javier Bardem
Synopsis: After a bitter divorce from her husband (Crudup) and a disastrous affair with a younger man (Franco), writer Elizabeth Gilbert (Roberts) decides to spend a year away from her home in New York, traveling the world to find herself. She learns to nourish herself in Italy, explores the power of prayer in India, and finds balance in her life through true love in Bali.
Meh. It was alright. I haven't read the book, and I wonder how people who have actually read it feel the movie holds up to Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir. I feel like you probably get a much better understanding of how/why Liz comes to her decision to travel to these three specific places by reading the book. Don't get me wrong, there were some very good parts, but overall I wasn't hugely impressed.
The movie is broken down into four parts: the approximate year of her life before Liz starts traveling (when she decides to divorce her husband and takes up with a young actor who's performing in one of her plays), the four months she spends in Italy (where she learns Italian and meets a small group of wonderful people who teach her how to enjoy life and food), the time she spends at an ashram in India (where she befriends a teenage girl being forced into an arranged marriage and a older American gentleman who is dealing with demons from his past), and finally her stay in Bali (where she learns balance from a medicine man and falls in love a divorced Brazilian businessman).
My favorite part was probably Italy, but I also liked Bali. I felt like the movie dragged in the middle (specifically in India), but Richard Jenkins whose character plays a pivotal role in Liz's experience in India is absolutely wonderful! He gives great performance -- sarcastic, witty, but also tortured. Javier Bardem, who plays Felipe the Brazilian Liz encounters in Bali, also turns out a top notch performance. I was just checking out his filmography on IMDb, and it surprises me that I've only seen a couple of his films. I will be paying a bit more attention to him in the future.
I will say that the filming locations were also incredibly beautiful. I would love to be able to travel the world for a year. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like I'll be able to afford it anytime soon.