I understand that “Eat, Pray, Love” is not exactly the kind of movie a typical BYT reader will run to, but, chances are, you all have a mother, sister, girlfriend or friend (you owe a favor to) that may drag you to it, so everyone deserves to know what to expect.
Now, I have not read the book but I understand it is a pretty frustrating literary experience (and I quote “Elizabeth Gilbert is the most annoying person alive”). It always appeared to be one of those “Me Me Me” pieces of work that you can either identify with or be mad at, which, I guess, is a good thing, because nothing is worse than not having actual opinions and emotional responses to the things we mentally and visually consume.
But we are not here to talk about “Eat, Pray, Love”-the book, we are here to discuss “Eat, Pray, Love”-the movie. Produced by Brad Pitt, costing 60 milion dollars, grossing 45 million in its first week, starring the best looking people in the world (Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, James Franco AND Billy Crudup) running around the best looking places in the world (Italy, India and Bali + New York City as the place worth escaping from) and being generally unhappy without knowing why.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZzmqHJ0gPU
Just the premise makes me want to shoot myself in the face.
The whole concept of being unhappy out of sheer boredom has been mined for ages (Onegin’s “spleen” or “ill humor” being an early example of it in modern literature) and it never leads to good things.
Liz Gilbert (aka Julia Roberts) is in her late 30s, married to a great looking, if sort of unfocused man, who loves her, has a terrific job, smart, witty and intelligent friends, a closetful of great outfits and a brand new home. And then one day she goes to bed and looks at the great looking husband (Billy Crudup) and he says “I don’t think I want to go to Aruba” and she says “I don’t think I want to be married”.
Just like that. Which, I guess, we’re supposed to observe as brave but this is coming from a woman who just spent 8 years in a marriage avoiding having kids (avoiding having any permanent ties to said marriage), who has not been wronged or not loved, who is well, just bored. And being bored and not facing the cause for your unhappiness does not make you brave.
So, she moves out, takes up with a younger man (James Franco being all sleepy eyed and starting to make this movie seem like a genetic lottery game you have no chance of winning), he takes her to an ashram in NYC, they light candles and other pseudo-spiritual bullshit and she decides to LEAVE.
She will spend a year away (because she can): she will go to Italy, India and Bali and be “by herself for the first time since she was 15 years old” (you see- Gilbert is one of those women who ALWAYS had a boyfriend, a husband, a rebound boyfriend, the kind of woman who always starts resembling her latest relationship).
HOW “BRAVE”. Don’t you just hate those people who decide they need to try and NOT be in a relationship? (I do).
Anyway-traveling being her surrogate boyfriend, she leaves (“You are my hero” says James Franco and we all die a little bit inside).
In Italy she meets some people and learns “the joy of doing nothing”. She also eats a lot and says pop-psychology crap like “Its ok-we’ll just buy some bigger jeans, we don’t need to starve ourselves” and buys lingerie for herself (and not, you know, for a man) and as a result people look at her and act as if she is profound. The fact that someone lived till the age of 38 before they decided it is ok to eat pizza without freaking out about what your significant other will think IS the saddest thing in the world. That someone then wrote a book about it (it being this epic battle of loving yourself in the face of pizza and men), and then somehow got a movie made starring Julia Roberts in it based on that book is the second saddest thing in the world.
Ok-then four months later she goes to India to stay in an ashram and meet the guru whom she casually got into in New York (the guru appears to NOT BE in India BUT ACTUALLY IN NYC which is supposed to some sort of a cosmic joke or something. I didn’t care for it). She meets some people and learns “the joy of speaking to God”. Because, you see, if Italy was the “eat” part of the title, then India is the “pray” portion. It is all very self-indulgent and there are no hot men here to speak of (but she does pet an elephant and discovers that not speaking will do “wonders for your neck”) so soon enough she ….
Goes to Bali. On a predictability scale from 1 to 10, 10 being the most predictable, her Bali experience is an 11. Of course this trip is the “LOVE” part so before you know it, somewhere between meditating and bike riding she gets run over by Javier Bardem and naturally, he is SMITTEN. And how could he not be-she is a self-loving, centered woman now, she is ready for the good love, or is she? (though side note- Javier Bardem as a prize for your “spiritual” journey is pretty enticing, I think we can all agree on that)
Pretty soon the phrase “You don’t need a man Liz, you need a champion” is uttered, the first sex in eight months has been had and …. man, I can’t even type about this anymore.
This movie is not about being alone or learning to like yourself. This movie is well, bullshit. Pretty picturesque/great looking bullshit, BUT bullshit nonetheless.