Film (with rating): Eat Pray Love (PG-13)
Pictures Home Entertainment
writer, unhappy in her marriage and feeling lost in life, divorces and launches
herself on an around-the-world journey of self-discovery.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir of finding herself after divorcing her husband is a
well-written (yet a bit narcissistic) bestseller that captivated millions of
readers well before it landed on the big screen starring Julia Roberts. Gilbert
travels to Italy to nourish her soul through food, India to nourish her mind
and spirit, Indonesia to nourish her heart. What woman hasn’t daydreamed about
leaving it all behind and just setting forth on some grand adventure?
“Eat Pray Love” is basically that daydream lived
out loud by Gilbert. Unfortunately, it is hard to write an entire book or film
a whole movie about self-discovery without coming across as shallow,
self-absorbed and a bit me-me-me.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the movie; I did. It is
beautifully filmed and the travel locations did nothing but made me salivate
over my expired passport. Roberts, in her usual way, was appealing, satisfying
and well cast as the lead role. Viewers believe her portrayal of Gilbert, and
she is completely in her element in this role. Javier Bardem and James Franco
were surprisingly terrific as supporting characters, as well. The landscape is
a character itself, with gorgeous scenery upstaging the actors many times.
But due to the navel-gazing nature of the film, the plot
movement itself seemed a bit forced. I mean, there’s only so much contemplation
we as viewers want to watch the main characters do. Sometimes, we need some
action, not just more footage of the folks on screen meditating or talking
about themselves. Reviewers have either loved or hated the film, but I’m right
in the middle. I enjoyed it and yearned for a vacation because of it, but
“Eat” was not the best movie I’ve ever seen.
Extra highlight: Don’t worry about it. Check out some old
episodes of Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” on The Travel
Channel and eat more pasta.
What to serve for dinner: Follow Gilbert’s path and cook up some Italian
cuisine to feed the soul: rigatoni Bolognese and tiramisu (womansday.com).
1 box (1 lb) rigatoni pasta
2 medium carrots (4 oz), halved
1 medium onion (6 oz), quartered
1 package (8 or 10 oz) whole mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tsp olive oil
3 links Italian turkey sausage (about 10 oz), casings
12 tsp crushed rosemary
14 tsp each salt and pepper
12 cup white wine (optional)
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes in thick pure
1. Cook pasta in large pot of salted boiling water as box directs.
Meanwhile, put carrots, onion, mushrooms and garlic in a food processor; pulse
until finely chopped.
2. Heat oil in large nonstick
skillet over medium-high heat. Saut chopped vegetables six minutes.
3. Add turkey sausage and cook,
breaking up clumps, four minutes or until no longer pink. Stir in rosemary,
salt, pepper and wine, if using; boil one minute.
4. Stir in crushed tomatoes, reduce
heat and simmer, covered, five minutes. Spoon over drained pasta.
2 packages (3 oz each) soft ladyfingers
3/4 cup coffee-flavored liqueur (such as Kahlua) or coffee
syrup + 3/4 cup water
1 tub (1 lb 8.3 oz) ready-to-eat cheesecake filling (Kraft
1. Separate and arrange 1 package of
the ladyfingers on the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish, overlapping slightly.
2. Mix liqueur and water in small
bowl; brush ladyfingers with half the mixture. Stir cheesecake filling in tub
until spreadable. Spoon half over ladyfingers, spreading evenly. Repeat layers.
3. Garnish top with sifted
unsweetened cocoa powder, if desired. Cover and refrigerate two hours.
* Different Takes: Sprinkle grated
bittersweet chocolate between ladyfinger and filling layers. Substitute
hazelnut-flavored liqueur for the coffee-flavored liqueur. Make a tiramisu cake
by layering in an 8-in. springform pan.
What to talk about over dinner: Have you ever daydreamed about leaving it all
behind and going on some huge adventure? What does your journey look like? Do
you think Elizabeth Gilbert discovered anything about herself through traveling
that she could not do without having embarked on a grand trip? Was she brave,
or self-absorbed? Do you have to be female to enjoy “Eat?” What is
your favorite Julia Roberts’ movie? Why are 40-something women in Hollywood not
offered that many satisfying roles, especially when there are lots of
40-something viewers out there who would love to see them on screen? How could
this movie been better? What’s your favorite travel destination? Your dream
destination? One place you never want to visit? One place you’d live if you
could? Quick: What’s your favorite quote from “Pretty Woman?”