Eat, Pray Love – guest review by @TLWH

Hmmm, let me see.. what can I say about the book Eat, Pray, Love.

1. I probably read it way before the book even took on its undeserved cult status , back when the title was just a blip in the magazines.. back before Oprah Winfrey endorsed it with an interview of the author… oh back, back wayyyyy back.. when people used to ask “is this a religious book?”

2. Even back then,  I was only captivated by the 1st chapter, loving every minute of the “EAT” bit.. but later found chapter two barely kept my attention, the third and final chapter I found tedious, cliched and like the author needed a quick exit -an easy way to end the story.

Having said that, it is really still one man’s journey, or in this case, one woman’s (Elizabeth Gilbert’s) and who am I to judge if she says it happened the way it happened right? Having said that, I am still not going to watch the movie, because I was not that enamored with the book and am even less enamored with Julia Roberts. As such, the task fell on Dave of the The Longest Way Home to review this movie. When he asked me if I would mind publishing his review, I said – why not? I ain’t doing it anyway. So here is Dave, with his 2 cents worth on Eat, Pray, Love!

Dave’s say on the movie Eat, Pray, Love..

It’s been going on for ages. While Eat Pray Love was released months ago it’s only just hit Asian shores. During this time I have been urging the “Monkeys” here (cumi & ciki) to do a review. Monikers like Eat Pray Puke, Barf, Chunder and everything else were thrown around in anticipation. I deliberately ignored all and knew nothing about this film before going to see it.

You’d think after 6 years of travel I too would hurl at the thought of a “girly” Hollywood movie like this. Firstly, I don’t care who’s in it, before I go and see it. Julia Roberts can portray excellent characters, and while “that” smile is wearing a little thin, I will not judge until after the credits.

Secondly, I have not read “that” book. So I have no idea. And, I really hate it when people do put a movie up against the book. A book is written for your imagination, a film is a directors interpretation. Followed by some seriously dubious Hollywood fundraisers idea on what will sell.

So I went to see Eat, Love, Pray knowing nothing much about it, and watched it for what it is, a movie.

The Movie:
Thumbs down or thumbs up?
I did not puke. I didn’t exactly jump up and down with wistful desires of travel either. Its biggest fault? The lead actors did not release a drop of perspiration in all but one scene. Sorry, but riding a bike in Bali, heck, even sitting still anywhere bar in the high mountains of India will leave you a sodden mess. So yes, the Hollywood “don’t dirty the actors” producer types are well at work here. And, this is the biggest fault of this movie.

It’s biggest thumbs up? Before leaving Italy, India, or at a point in Bali, the lead female character does narrate her desires in finding herself. I think anyone who’s gone traveling looking for that will be able to touch base a little there. With the exception perhaps of middle aged types who are little bitter that they did not accomplish what the lead character did. Sorry, but the truth hurts sometimes.

Most overlooked part? Single middle aged men or women just after a break up who go traveling are dangerous. Avoid them at all costs. They are rebounding like hell, want to party to make up for lost time, new found freedom, and a little rebellion. Not to mention recover their youth, normally done whilst dancing and drinking to prove this.

There are glimmers of this real side to travel appearing in Eat Pray Love, but sadly they are not the main focus point here. I think the film would have been a lot better if not for this Hollywood feel good factor thing going on. It was close, and perhaps the original script had this. But the movie is a victim of serious rewriting I am quite sure.

Conclusion: I did not barf during this film. I just found it being yet another victim of Hollywood’s “this is what you should like”.

Will you be inspired by it? Maybe, if you’ve just broken up with someone. Otherwise it probably will push the wrong buttons for you. Or, leave you thinking this is what it’s really like to travel after a break up. Not exactly an inspiring idea in itself.

About the the guest writer Dave:

His website: The Longest Way Home

Follow him on Twitter:  @TLWH


  • GotPassport says:

    A bunch of us are having a Ladies’ night out tomorrow and see this film here in Chiang Mai. I read the book a long time ago and liked it- because I can personally relate to the finding oneself bit. I’m assuming the movie will not be anything like the book. But still, I’ll go see it purely for the entertainment value of it.

    Glad you did not barf, Dave! 🙂

  • Brother B says:

    For Julia Roberts alone, I will avoid this film like an over-the-hill, unpretty call girl with witchy drag queen features. She is so over rated. Oh Julia!

  • minchow says:

    A thoroughly fair review. I haven’t read the book, haven’t seen the movie, do not intend to do neither in the near future and if anything’s neutralised my disparaging preconceptions of both, this is it. Not my thing, but like everything else, pretty sure it’ll please some quarters!

  • J the chocoholic says:

    Lol. Well it’s not quite a scathing review but definitely an interesting one 🙂

  • Kiran says:

    I won’t waste any time either watching or reading Eat, Pray, Love. Le sigh Julia 😀

  • ayngelina says:

    ….I did not puke….hilarious. But I felt the exact same way as you, great review.

  • I actually think Julia Roberts is a bit of alright. She can act when she wants too. See Erin Brockovich, Mary Reilly and The Pelican Brief!

  • Nigel says:

    ummm just to be contrarian I think you should go watch it 😉

  • Sarah says:

    I have to says I love the typography (since I’m a designer). I think I want to watch it when the DVD comes out, maybe read the book afterward.

  • LeslieTravel says:

    I agree with Ciki– I read the book way back when, and found it way too spiritual and hokey. I skimmed over entire sections. I also found it annoying that the author secured a book deal before she left… how atypical is that? The book didn’t inspire me personally and I don’t plan on seeing the film, but if they encourage more Americans to travel independently then I’m all for it.

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