Eat Pray Love
I went to see this film because I like Julia Roberts and was pleasantly surprised at how much better the film is than I anticipated.
The theater had 100+ people and exactly three men, I guess because any movie that is about a woman is defined as a "chick flick." That is so NOT what this film is!
It's a quest film, a journey by a woman who has lived her life according to the (gender, social, and career) "rules" and found them wanting. After her marriage (to Billy Crudup) breaks up, she journeys to Bali where she meets an old medicine man who foretells her future and the rest of the film is how she lives it.
She returns to NYC and turns to another man (James Franco) only to find that the maxim that women are defined in terms of their relationship to men is hogwash. Her journey takes her to Italy and a lesson in letting go of rules, then to India and a lesson in forgiving herself for the guilt she feels for having abandoned her marriage (nice turn by Richard Jenkins here), and finally to Bali, where she regathers her strength. I've already said a lot, so you'll have to witness that segment on your own.
The thing is that everyone she meets along the way has suffered or is suffering some kind of emotional pain and that she is not unique--the string of broken marriages and the difficult consequences are everywhere--and that often the smashup of a life is because people just follow convention to their detriment. She also discovers that although pain and guilt are inevitable in anyone's life, that it's not the end of the world. The people who survive have to be willing to take risks, to think outside the pedantic nature of "the box" (sorry for the cliche).
And she finds love--oh my, Javier Bardem is one hot dude!--which is a nice thing, since she's been longing for it for so long. In fact, there's a lot of love in this film and one message is that loving someone is risky business. There's a wonderful scene set in Italy where folks gathered around a Thanksgiving dinner table speak of love in terms of their fear that going for it can lead to terrible loss--but most of them go for it anyway.
I talked to someone who told me none of her friends would not see this film because they were sure they would hate it. Take the risk! And don't fall for the "chick flick" dismissal of it.