While her husband pines for children she pines for freedom and, obviously, those two things don’t mix. One messy divorce later Liz is off, as the dvd cover says, on “one woman’s search for everything.” And, as the title suggests, everything includes food; both edible, spiritual and for the heart. A journey which takes her to Italy, India and Indonesia.
Opinions: I have to admit the film caught my eye first. I love to travel, I love to write (Eat, Pray, Love is semi, if not completely, autobiographical of writer Elizabeth Gilbert) and I suppose embarking into the new world of adulthood and a new phase of myself in a way made the quest for understanding appeal too.
Despite it being the film that first brought Eat, Pray, Love to my attention I am a firm believer in reading the book first. Of anything. And the book normally wins.. but more on that later.
The Book: Broken into three parts, one for each country Liz visits, the book has a lot more detail than the film. This is often the case as books have more space and don’t have to conform to the restrictions I think films come with.
Most noticeable is that the book says a lot more about the “pray” aspect. If I remember rightly Liz has a little book that she writes in to comfort her, something which doesn’t appear in the film. Also in the opening pages, when we find her crying on the bathroom floor hopeless over her marriage situation, when Liz asks for help and hears a voice telling her to go to bed she describes how it comes from within.. however in the film you just hear it as a whisper. The book also, not wanting to give anything away, also goes into more detail about Liz’s relationship with the healer as she works to help her and her daughter Tutti and goes beyond the end of the film… if that makes sense.
The Film: Julia Roberts is great as Liz, not afraid to cry, fall off her bike or embrace the Italian food and “muffin top” (her words not mine) that comes with it. The whole cast is well chosen but special mention has to go to James Franco as the subject of Liz’s rebound affections. One word – swoooooon! Richard Jenkins plays “Richard from Texas” and speaks in “bumper stickers” spouting snippets of snap-put-of-it-advice brilliantly balanced with a real depth of character.
Winner: The film. Why? Because for me it misses out the bits of the book I didn’t really enjoy. I found the book a bit too religious, overly complicated and it doesn’t finish where I think it should have done. However with a story such as this it really isn’t about the pages or the screen, it is about the life lesson and trying to translate it into something on a individual basis.