Films for Foodies: Eat Pray Love, in Which an Annoying Character Eats Great Food
Movie studios scramble to have big-name stars headline their films, but in many of my favorite movies food is the star. Few things are better than pairing a foodie film with a great meal so we can enjoy ourselves just as much as the folks onscreen are enjoying their own aliments. In this series, we'll highlight a movie in which food plays a leading role and suggest one or more local spots that can provide an accompanying feast for you. Pull up a table and dim the lights, the show's about to begin.
Photo courtesy Eat Pray Love It's a hokey film, but the food and scenery are incredible.
Eat Pray Love is based on the autobiographical novel by Elizabeth Gilbert. The film opens with Liz (Julia Roberts) in Bali, riding her bike to see a healer, who tells her she will have two marriages, will lose all her money but get it back again, and will return to Bali someday to teach him English.
The film then cuts to New York, where Gilbert is at a party. Though she has a successful career, a loving husband (Billy Crudup), a house, savings and anything else the modern woman could want, Gilbert finds herself unhappy with her life. In the middle of the night, she gets out of bed and prays, not really knowing how, and she hears God tell her to go back to bed. When she lies down again next to her husband, he says he doesn't want to leave New York. Gilbert says she doesn't want to be married.
The couple separates, and Gilbert begins dating an actor, David (James Franco), who tells her that his inner peace and calm are the result of his relationship with his guru, whom he met in India. Gilbert decides that she needs to take some time off to travel. She plans to go to Italy, then to India to meet the guru, then finally to Bali to see the healer again, hoping to find herself somewhere along the way.
To avoid spoilers, skip directly to page 2.
In Italy, Gilbert meets Sophie, Giovanni and Luca, and the three teach her to speak Italian, eat Italian food and enjoy taking time for herself to just do nothing.
Photo courtesy Eat Pray Love The book by the same name is not as good as the movie.
In India, Gilbert finds out the guru is in New York, and she initially has trouble learning to clear her mind and meditate. Eventually, she meets Richard the Texan (Richard Jenkins), who helps her learn how to forgive herself for her divorce. Gilbert becomes a hostess for new travelers at the sanctuary and relishes her role as a sort of leader.
Finally back in Bali, Gilbert returns to the healer, who says that before she looked sad, and now she looks happy. Gilbert agrees to help the healer by transcribing his scrolls, but on the way to photocopy them one day, she is nearly run off the road on her bike by a man, Felipe (Javier Bardem), whom she later gets to know. The accident results in a cut on her leg, though, so Gilbert goes to see a medicine woman, Wayan, who lives with her daughter, Tutti. Wayan is also divorced and tells Gilbert that, in order to keep her daughter in the divorce, she had to give everything she owned to her husband
Later, Gilbert and Felipe begin a relationship. She learns that he, too, is divorced and still hurting from his failed marriage. After spending a lot of romantic time with him, Gilbert puts her efforts into raising money from her friends in America to build Wayan and Tutti a house.
Gilbert becomes concerned about jumping into a relationship with Felipe so soon, so she breaks things off with him. The healer tells her that she should go for it, and the film ends with the two of them sailing off to another island together.
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