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‘Eat, Pray, Love’ a $23.7 Million Triumph or Turd?

in YD News, Yoga On Film

Eat, Pray, Love opened to decent box office success! Did you see it? The film came in second at $23.7 million in weekend sales from 3,082 theaters, behind The Expendables which raked in $35 million on 3,270 screens (though we bet at the end of the day EPL merch beats that number 10-fold). Even though New York Magazine’s David Edelstein called it a “golden turd” Julia Roberts still managed to charm her fans enough to pull a fair turnout. But was the magic in the moviestar or the hype?

According to Vulture, a Fandango.com casual survey polled 53 percent of voters who said the original Liz Gilbert book was the biggest motivation to see the film. Some 25 percent chose its exotic locations (25 percent! on scenery alone?). And then only 22 percent said Julia Roberts was the primary motivation. This the same audience, we figure, as a Sony rep says actually went and saw the movie: “72 percent of the opening weekend audience was female, and 56 percent were over the age of 25,” based on exit interviews. Hm, sounds a lot like the coveted yoga moms! Which totally makes sense, considering Liz was a 30-something woman contemplating children, family, happiness etc. But how did that translate to the big screen?

NPR‘s Linda Holmes saw the movie and sits mainly in the ‘turd’ category, using words like”weak” and “inadequate” to describe the film adaptation, explaining that readers of the book are the only ones who will really get the bigger picture.

It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if a lot of people who loved the book also love the movie, because it’s pretty scenery and luscious scenes about food, and if you know where she’s coming from, it’s not so annoying.

But if all you have to go on is Movie Liz, she seems like kind of a selfish jerk, and that makes her voyage to better self-care very hard to care about.

You read our review right?

The bottom line? If you read the book and hated it, you’ll hate the movie even more. If you liked the book,  you might like the movie, but chances are you’ll be underwhelmed and kicking yourself in the Netflix queue. If you haven’t read the book, you’re gonna love all those pretty images! And of course, if you just love Julia Roberts, James Franco or Javier Bardem it’ll be your favorite 2.5 hours all week.

Did you see the film? Are you female over 25?


YogaDork ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ 5-Point Review

NY Post: Eat, Pray, Hype, and the Disenfranchised Enlightenment Junkies

13 comments… add one
  • Tali

    Yes, I saw it Friday night because I wanted to go to a movie and it seemed like a good choice. Yes, I am over 25, 33 to be exact. I loved the book and had a feeling that the movie would disappoint and I was right.

    I agree that it was weak and such a watered down version of the book that it’s fair to consider it the Cliffnotes version.

    I was also very frustrated by groups of women in the same theater who were talking through out the movie and gaggling on like they were at Book Club.

    If you must see it I recommend waiting for the rental.

  • these two articles say it all for me:

    http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2010/08/13/i_me_myself/index.html — this article voices what gnawed at me all throughout the book

    http://bitchmagazine.org/article/eat-pray-spend — you are mentioned in it….
    “And an ailing economy makes this thinking all the more problematic. “Splurging on luxury is a real no-no in this crap economy,” a blogger at YogaDork wrote in a post titled “The All-Inclusive Vacation for the Recession Torn (The Acceptable Splurge).” “But what if it’s for a self-helpy learning experience?” Pondering the importance of health over penny-pinching, the blogger suggested that if “yogis and non alike” thought a retreat worth scrounging for, they should get on it. And indeed, if self-helpy is on the menu, people seem to be buying it, or at least buying into it.”

    I will wait for Netflix

  • Tai

    I loved it, & I’m a 39 year old yoga teacher. I haven’t read the book, but now I want to. I felt like it illustrated non-attachment, ahimsa, & other yogic principles.

  • I really loved the book….really resonated with me and some of my own soul-searching travels and romances. I don’t have a strong need to rush out and spend $11 a person on a movie ticket or spend $50 for the Eat, Pray, Love Perfume. I’ll just wait a few months and order it in my Netflix subscription.

  • I have yet to see the movie but I’ve heard similar reviews. It won’t stop me from going to see it though. I’m a sucker for beautiful locations;)

  • I’m 28, a yoga teacher, and an insane fan of the book. I’ve read the book maybe 6 times… and when I’d heard they cast Julia Roberts in the lead I knew immediately the movie would not live up to the book.

    I bought a ticket anyway, and the movie was just as bad as I thought it would be. blech! If they had put less “spaghetti porn” in the movie, there would have been more room for some actual storyline. Really wishing I had just waited for it from Netflix.

  • here’s my take on it all: http://bit.ly/cRXnkO yes, I know, I run a retreat based on the book that ain’t cheap – but it is authentic and well received and we’ve been doing it for a few years now, so way before all the movie hype.
    I linked to your EPL postings b/c I definitely couldn’t have said it better myself…thanks for keeping it real.

  • Sabine

    I really appreciate Mia Mask’s take on the movie: Orientalism Still Big Onscreen http://n.pr/9fxwUw (You can find it on the NPR website if this link does not work for you.)
    She refers to “orientalism” as defined by E Said.
    For me there seems to be this strange idealization of the people in India and Bali as that “strange other”— and that does not work for me.

    I am fascinated but how many white, well-to-do women I have encountered that love(!) this book. That is truly interesting to me. And I know it will come up in my Yoga classes…. so if this gets us to talk about the issues involved, that would be very welcome.

  • Maia

    As with most movies based on a best selling book, it really didn’t capture even half of the intensity that the book conveyed. On a brighter note, the eye candy (food, exotic locations, beautiful men and women) made the movie a good “girls night out” flick. It also helps that they only charged $4.50 admission.

    • Marielle


      I really couldn’t pull through the book. It started out, Italy was okay (I read it in Italy during my holidays, maybe that helped) but then it got worse and worse.
      All that babble of God all the time, it got me really annoyed. Way to serieus and not grounded. Over the top. Maybe it is the problem that I’m from Europe and relate to this. I like yoga though.

  • Same, same and same. They did a passable job with the movie, though they changed quite a few little details about the storyline that took away from the intensity of the story.

    I never saw this book as a movie throughout my time from opening the cover to hearing about the film adaptation. I went to see the movie with my best girlfriend, who had not read the book and she enjoyed it.

    I told her to go buy the book.

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