This past weekend, a friend invited me to watch Eat, Pray, Love, the movie based on Elizabeth Gilbert's book chronicling her self-discovery after a divorce. Said quest for self-awareness was achieved by traveling to Italy to carb-load (eat), India to live at an ashram (pray) and Bali where she meets her now husband (love).
I haven't read the book and really had little interest in watching the movie, which turned out to be unnecessarily long and sometimes boring, but during Gilbert's stay in Rome it had plenty of food porn to make me hungry and long a return to Italy.
The food styling was in the hands of Susan Spungen, who also styled the food for Julie & Julia, and did so beautifully. Let me just say you've never seen speckles of Parmesan cheese up this close as they rained onto a plate of pasta. The carcifiori alla romana was drool-worthy. And you probably haven't thought of cheese-filled zucchini blossoms as erotic until you see cheese spurting from them as Roberts playing Gilbert breaks them with her fork.
During the trip, Gilbert also indulges in lots of gelato at a place now commanding pilgrimages and one scene shows her alone eating a heaping bowl of pasta -- a scene deemed "one of the most controversial scenes caught on film" by director Ryan Murphy in an interview. He says: "... In our culture right now there's so much guilt around food and appetite, so having a scene where a woman eats with unabashed joy is amazing and lovely."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Honestly, the close ups of Roberts's mouth as she slurped her pasta got a little annoying, but it's sad that it would be considered controversial. Do we really need validation from a movie to find pleasure in food?