(15+) US. Julia Roberts, Richard Jenkins, Javier Bardem
Based on Elizabeth Gillbert’s globe-trotting empowerment memoir, this is expertly wrought pop-psychology; plates of pasta will be consumed in Rome (to nourish a wounded heart), the soul will be tended in an Indian ashram, and romance will flourish in sultry Bali. Roberts gives a gloriously complex performance – one of her best yet, curling into balls of insecurity and lifting her glass in tear-rimmed ruefulness. It’s rare for Hollywood to indulge such a robust woman’s picture.
All of the performances are knockouts, especially Richard Jenkins as a damaged Texas spiritualist who steeps the movie in intimacy. Oh, to have Julia’s choices: crushed ex-husband Billy Crudup, cute yogi James Franco, Bali-dwelling Javier Bardem. The movie is completely aware of its own riches; it fills up your plate and dares you not to eat.