Australian Council on Children and the Media

Eat Pray Love

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Short takes

Not recommended under 15 (Themes, Coarse language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Eat Pray Love
  • a review of Eat Pray Love completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 7 October 2010.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not recommended due to themes and coarse language
Children over the age of 15 OK for this group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Eat Pray Love
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Infrequent coarse language
Length 140 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s popular novel, Eat Pray Love follows the journey of self discovery made by Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts).

Liz (Julia Roberts) finds herself lost in her marriage to Stephen (Billy Crudup) and begins divorce proceedings. After a brief love affair with David (James Franco), a much younger man, she decides to take a year to overhaul her life. She travels to Italy to rediscover her passion for food and her spark for life; then to India to seek spiritual balance and finally ends her year in Bali to practice the life balance she has learnt. There she meets a Brazilian man, Felipe (Javier Bardem) who encourages her to trust in love again.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Family breakdown; life changes; spirituality; cultural differences

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There are some very infrequent and mild violent scenes in this movie.

  • While riding her bike, Liz is run off the road by a car. We are shown a bloody cut on her leg
  • There are a number of disturbing stories told including: a man almost running over his child while drunk and the perils encountered by Cambodian refugee women while escaping genocide.
  • In Italy, Liz is told that people communicate with their hands and observes a number of lively interactions between locals where there is yelling and use of rude gestures.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

There are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of eight, including the following:

  • While Liz is waiting to leave India, an elephant walks up to her
  • While driving through the streets of India, the driver takes huge risks, and speeds and .this frantic pace may be scary for some children.
  • In the slums, children beg for money by sticking their hands into Liz’s taxi.
  • A mother is told by the tribal doctor that her child is possessed by demons – Liz makes a comment to a lady that is looks as if the child is teething and she responds “it’s the same thing”

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be distrubed by the above mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

It is unlikely that anything in this movie will scare or disturb children over the age of eight.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

It is unlikely that anything in this movie will scare or disturb children in this age group

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Liz is asked if she is a lesbian as she is not married
  • The older Italian landlord tells her she is not allowed to bring ‘strange men’ home
  • Liz is told everyone ‘has a love affair’ in Bali
  • There are a number of references to people being ‘hot’ or ‘a hottie’
  • Liz is told she has a bladder infection after having ‘too much sex’ and she is also told that her knee cartilage reveals she hasn’t had sex for a long time
  • Young men follow a group of girls, ogling them and making gestures to grab their bottoms.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some partial nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • In Bali, a younger man takes Liz to the beach after a night of drinking and strips down to go ‘skinny dipping’ He is shown naked from behind a number of times.
  • Liz dances closely with Felipe and they kiss passionately before moving towards the bedroom (implied that they have sex)
  • Liz is kissed on the neck by David
  • Liz sits naked in a bubble bath (only her head and knees are shown)
  • Liz wears very brief lingerie – showing her legs and cleavage
  • A young couple are kiss passionately in the streets of Rome. The man’s hand is shown climbing up the girl’s bare stomach

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • There is a comment in a bar in Bali that a drink “may have methamphetamines in it”
  • We are shown people drinking at a bar – doing shots of tequila, Liz is then shown to have a big hangover the next morning
  • Many instances of social drinking
  • Liz’s friend at the retreat in India tells her how he almost ran over his son while drunk
  • There is mention of ‘Xanax’

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Bullshit
  • Crap
  • Sucks
  • Jesus
  • Goddamm
  • Arses
  • Screw you
  • Motherfucker
  • Shitfaced
  • Friggen
  • Rude gestures – including a young girl sticking her finger up

In a nutshell

Eat Pray Love is a movie about taking control of your life which is confronting at times when addressing the guilt of divorce, separation, alcoholism and family breakdown. It is not suitable for younger children and adolescents, but may appeal to those over 15, especially since it has had a lot of publicity.

The main messages from this movie are that:

  • finding happiness in life involves addressing guilt and pain from the past
  • spirituality can be found in many ways
  • you must forgive yourself in order to trust and love again
  • simple pleasures, indulgence, fun and laughter are all important

 Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • bravery and risk-taking
  • following dreams
  • the importance of spirituality

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as

  • neglecting your responsibilities
  • arranged marriages and other cultural beliefs / traditions
  • relationship breakdown

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