At the beginning, I was really impressed with this movie. The casting was great – and I don’t just say that because I love Julia Roberts. She was a great choice to capture the author’s self-deprecating sense of humor, but all the other actors were well-chosen too. The movie has a much greater appeal as a travel memoir because of the beautiful scenery. And the movie did an amazing job wordlessly conveying feelings like the author’s love of Italian food and the potential for romance with her Italian tutor.
Also at the beginning, most of the changes from the book were small and clearly made the book a better movie. For instance, the book jumps around in time, but the movie is strictly chronological. While it was tempting to be a book snob and fuss about any unnecessary changes, it was a good movie that kept the heart of the book. But by the time we were in India (second third of the book), there were beginning to be major changes that I thought altered the meaning of the book. In particular, at the very end the author’s romantic interest pushes her to overcome her fear of commitment. In the book, she overcomes that fear herself, which both made her more impressive and her love interest less of a jerk. Overall, not badly done, but the ending forces me to drop this a star to a 3 out of 5.