Was Julia Roberts the Wrong Actress for Eat, Pray, Love?

The opening weekend of Eat, Pray, Love is being billed as a success, earning $23 million and second only to Sly Stallone's action ensemble The Expendables at $35 million.  Not surprisingly, more than 70% of the audience for EPL were women and movie marketers expect a long run for the film into the fall since women are less likely than men to rush out to see a movie on opening weekend. 


As Owen Gleiberman at Entertainment Weekly also observes, The Expendables, EPL, and the third opening film Scott Pilgrim, were perfectly timed to open this weekend, targeting the male, female, and youth segments respectively.

Also of interest, the run-up and opening for EPL propelled book sales with 94,000 copies sold since Aug. 1 more than were sold in 2006, the first year of the book's release.

But the success of EPL is not without detractors.  Linda Holmes, at NPR's Monkey See blog, argues that the film leaves out important plot elements of the book.

And I can't help but wonder if the film would have done better with a different actress, especially among young adult women under 35. The talk has been building around this movie here in Washington, DC social circles for at least a month, and a common complaint I hear from female friends is that Julia Roberts just doesn't match their image of the main character.  As one friend puts it: "You expect the main character to look like she enjoys eating.  That's a big part of the book, and Julia Roberts just doesn't look that part."

What do readers think?

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

Meet the Bajau sea nomads — they can reportedly hold their breath for 13 minutes

The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.

Wikimedia Commons
Culture & Religion
  • The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
  • Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
  • Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
Keep reading Show less

After death, you’re aware that you’ve died, say scientists

Some evidence attributes a certain neurological phenomenon to a near death experience.

Credit: Petr Kratochvil. PublicDomainPictures.net.
Surprising Science

Time of death is considered when a person has gone into cardiac arrest. This is the cessation of the electrical impulse that drive the heartbeat. As a result, the heart locks up. The moment the heart stops is considered time of death. But does death overtake our mind immediately afterward or does it slowly creep in?

Keep reading Show less

Cornell scientists engineer artificial material that has three key traits of life

An innovation may lead to lifelike self-reproducing and evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less