MAJOR SPOILER ALERT.
If there was ever material that seems primed for a big-screen release, it's 'Eat Pray Love.' Elizabeth Gilbert's bestselling 2006 memoir about her year-long journey to find herself after a divorce has sold 6.2 million copies worldwide, holding millions of readers (and Oprah) rapt with its themes of redemption and letting go. Not to mention that her lush and colorful travels to Italy, India and Indonesia seemed born ready for their cinematic close up.

Ryan Murphy ('Glee') has taken helm of the big-screen adaptation, which hits theaters on Friday, with Julia Roberts inhabiting the role of broken down world traveler Liz Gilbert, and Javier Bardem, James Franco and Richard Jenkins making appearances as supporting players.

Of course, it's hard to squeeze in an entire year's worth of travels and self-realization into 334 paperback pages, much less a 133-minute film, which resulted in some discrepancies between the book and its movie counterpart. Some key players were bound to get lost (sorry, Indonesian pals Mario and Yudhi, and that poet/plumber from New Zealand!); some details muddied (they were at a Lazio soccer game in the book, but the movie was definitely sporting Roma colors). Others elements were added altogether (elephant on the loose).

Will avid readers of this bestseller be as enraptured by the movie as they were with the book? Here are some side-by-side comparisons as to how the two stack up. Though take caution, gentle reader: SPOILERS AHEAD.


MAJOR SPOILER ALERT.
If there was ever material that seems primed for a big-screen release, it's 'Eat Pray Love.' Elizabeth Gilbert's bestselling 2006 memoir, about her year-long journey to find herself after a divorce, has sold 6.2 million copies worldwide, holding millions of readers (and Oprah) rapt with its themes of redemption and letting go. Not to mention that her lush and colorful travels to Italy, India and Indonesia seemed born ready for their cinematic close up.

Ryan Murphy ('Glee') has taken helm of the big-screen adaptation, which hits theaters on Friday, with Julia Roberts inhabiting the role of broken down world traveler Liz Gilbert, and Javier Bardem, James Franco and Richard Jenkins making appearances as supporting players.

Of course, it's hard to squeeze in an entire year's worth of travels and self-realization into 334 paperback pages, much less a 133-minute film, which resulted in some discrepancies between the book and its movie counterpart. Some key players were bound to get lost (sorry, Indonesian pals Mario and Yudhi, and that poet/plumber from New Zealand!); some details muddied (they were at a Lazio soccer game in the book, but the movie was definitely sporting Roma colors). Others elements were added altogether (elephant on the loose).

Will avid readers of this bestseller be as enraptured by the movie as they were with the book? Here are some side-by-side comparisons as to how the two stack up. Though take caution, gentle reader: SPOILERS AHEAD.

Eat, Pray, LoveThe Ex-Husband

In the Book: Liz never refers to her ex-husband by name and refrains from focusing in on his good or bad points. She mentions that she was the primary breadwinner, but keeps to painting him in wide swaths, referring to him as "my lighthouse and my albatross in equal measure."

In the Movie: Stephen gets personified by Billy Crudup. The character gets fleshed out as a quirky and wayward mismatch who can't settle on a career path, and who has a tendency toward breaking out into song (not to mention dance). And his "quitter quitter quitter!" b-box at the lawyer's office was a big-screen addition.


A Friend Is a Friend Is a Friend
In the Book: Liz has a wide-ranging network of supportive friends, from her sister, to her mother to any number of pals all over the country, who give her both pearls of wisdom and warning as she embarks on the different chapters in her life.

In the Movie: Liz's friends are lumped into one practical sounding board of reason, a new mother by the name of Delia (played by Viola Davis).

The Italian Connection
In the Book: Liz meets her Swedish friend Sofie in a language class in Rome, and Sofie starts to get involved with the twin of her tandem language exchange partner, Giovanni. Luca Spaghetti is a friend of Liz's college friend. For Luca Spaghetti's birthday, a group gathers together for an American-style Thanksgiving feast at another couple's home in the countryside, but without the turkey -- it would have taken too long to cook.


In the Movie: Liz meets Sofi (played by Tuva Novotny) in a chance encounter at a busy cafe; Sofi orders them cappuccinos and napoleons and they become fast friends. Sofi gets romantically involved with Giovanni, and Luca Spaghetti is introduced as a friend of Giovanni's. The Thanksgiving/birthday celebration appears to take place at Giovanni's home, because his mother is present, clucking out orders and judgments in equal measure. (At one point she wonders if Liz is a lesbian.) Luca explains that he forgot to defrost the turkey in time for the meal, but the bird ultimately gets cooked in time for breakfast the next morning.

Eat, Pray, LoveRichard From Texas

In the Book: Liz and Ashram buddy Richard From Texas hit it off right from the start. Described as a guy "in his fifties [with] white hair and a white beard and a plaid flannel shirt," Richard is likened to Foghorn Leghorn. "His giant ambling confidence hushes down all my inherent nervousness and reminds me that everything really is going to be OK," Gilbert wrote. Richard calls Liz "Groceries," for the amount of food she could pack away during mealtime, and warned her to be careful what she prayed for. He kept on asking God to open his heart, and ended up being rushed to the hospital for emergency open-heart surgery.

In the Movie: Liz and Richard From Texas ultimately became kindred spirits, but the camaraderie between the two took a while to warm up. Their initial meetings were more contentious and rife with tension, and his "Groceries" moniker was not received kindly. The open heart prayer/open heart surgery story was not explained, but there was an additional story in which Richard From Texas recalled nearly hitting his son with his car while he was drunk. And as played by the venerable character actor Richard Jenkins, Richard From Texas was likened to James Taylor. "Has anyone ever told you that?" wondered Liz. "Every day," Richard responded.

The Geet
In the Book: Liz had a hard time sitting still through all 182 verses of the Gurugita, a meditation prayer recited in Sanskrit that takes an hour and a half to perform. It was her white whale. The only way to get her through this long slog of a morning prayer was to dedicate it as a hymn of pure love and sincerity to her 8-year-old nephew Nick.

Eat, Pray, Love
In the Movie: Liz had a similarly hard time getting through what Richard From Texas called "The Geet," but she instead devoted her prayer to 17-year-old fellow Seva floor scrubber Tulsi. And it also helped Tulsi to get through her arranged marriage to a computer programmer in Delhi (also not in the book).

When Felipe Met Liz ...

In the Book: Liz first encountered Brazilian expat and love interest Felipe in Bali when she was invited to a gathering by fellow Brazilian Armenia. Liz met Armenia through healer Wayan, who treated her knee injury, an injury that turned into infection after a bus nudged her and her bike off the shoulderless road.

In the Movie: It was Felipe (Bardem) who ended up bumping Liz and her bike off the side of the road in his Jeep, causing a little bit of irritation and tension when they met again at the party.


Trust Issues

In the Book: Liz embarks on her Bali romance with Felipe and allows herself to love and be loved after learning to find pleasure in Italy and exorcising her demons in India. She decides to make that leap with little to no hesitation or self-doubt. Divorced dad Felipe, also, does not waver in his devotion to Liz. At the end of the book she takes Felipe to a tiny island called Gili Meno, which she described as "one of the most important places in the world to me."

In the Movie: Liz is still wracked with insecurity at the thought of entering fully into the relationship with Felipe, and a shadow of doubt crossed over divorced Felipe's face as to whether or not he could allow himself to trust someone again. Felipe is shown to have trust issues, and so did Liz, and she initially balked when he asked her to make the leap and take a boat trip with him to an island.

Eat Pray LoveThe Final Word
In the book: Writer Liz has a head-over-heels affair with the Italian language, and she falls hard for the word attraversiamo ("let's cross over"). But Liz grapples with coming up with her her "word" -- the one term that can unlock a city or a person and his or her meaning (in Rome, it was sex; in New York: Achieve; Sweden: Conform). She finds it after poring through books at the library during the last week of her time at the Ashram in India: antevasin, which, in Sanskrit, means "one who lives at the border."

In the Movie: Brazilian friend Felipe introduces Liz to the word antevasin at a Bali market, explaining that they are two people between borders, and one and the same. But Liz doesn't reveal her "word" -- attraversiamo -- until the end of the film, during the movie's emotional climax, when she decides to let go of her own fears and join him on that boat trip to the island.

What did you think of the movie? Did you mind the changes from the book to the movie?

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