Eat. Pray. Love. Snore.

I was late to the Eat. Pray. Love. party. I try (not always successfully) to avoid the flavor of the month when it comes to books. But I was looking for something to read at the cabin we vacationed in earlier this summer and gave it a go.

It was a pleasant read and you probably know the basics–successful woman ditches her slacker husband, takes up with young actor and then realizes that she’s desperately unhappy. She wants to take a year off to find the real her and she’s going to do it stages–Italy (eat), India (pray) and Bali (love).

The problem with introspective, soul-searching books is that nothing much happens, and that’s the case with this movie.

Julia Roberts, who spent most of the movie dressed in Goodwill rejects, wanders around Rome–home to world’s most fabulously dressed men and women–in a dowdy denim dress, a hat best-suited for an octogenarian golfer and a purse that looks more like a reusable grocery bag:

Julia Roberts

Rome, which is a city of soft rosy hues, comes across dull and drab, a place without sunshine. The food didn’t even look appetizing.

The  India section opens with promise–Julia’s first glimpse of her new country are from the back of the cab taking her to the ashram she will call home for the next three months. The poverty, filth, the hordes of people won’t do anything for Indian tourism. We see lots of shots of Julia meditating and we’re supposed to believe that she is having trouble finding the peace she’s searching for. But then, bang, one day she finds it and so we’re off the Bali.

Bali at least looks lovely from the overhead shots. It’s green and luscious. She spends most of her time at the feet of a toothless little healer. That is, until she takes up with the sexy Brazilian. She ignores the little healer for weeks on end. But of course she goes back to him in the end.

In the end, the book was just easier to relate too. My imagination took me to far more interesting places than the movie.

I was expecting to taste the garlic in Italy. I needed to feel the heat in India. I wanted to hear the waves crashing in Bali. And I got none of that.

I know that lots of people (and when I say people I mean women) love this movie.

I’m just not one of them.

12 Comments

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12 responses to “Eat. Pray. Love. Snore.

  1. mother

    I will just remember Julie as she was in Pretty Woman. The only good thing about her latest movie is the film broke twice during the showing – making it last about 20 minutes longer – but they gave us all refund tickets as we left!!

  2. hmmmmm will definitely wait to read the book.

  3. The whole phenomena irritates the hell out of me. I saw a report that 200+ products are being marketed around Eat Pray Love. Soaps. Scents. Lotions. Food. As though you could find spiritual fulfillment through shopping for crap. And the premise is ridiculous. I don’t know many women who can take a year off after a divorce. My mom certainly couldn’t.

  4. Julie

    I’ll call it the “McDonalds phenomenon”. If it’s that popular, there must be something wrong with it.

  5. Yeah, I’m stuck on the Eff-This-Effing-Movie ship. I just have no desire to see it. And I love food, travel, and mysticism, but everything about it feels completely contrived.

  6. Mother–I wish I’d been with you. I’d have my money back.
    Sally–I’m surprised you haven’t. But I’m not sure it’s your bag.
    UB–I know–we’re supposed to feel sympathetic for this woman who could spend a year doing nothing. It really did ring false.
    Julie–You’re exactly right. I would’ve been more satisfied with a Big Mac.
    Rass–Any movie about food in Rome should make me want to run home and grab my passport. This one just reminded me of Spaghetti-os.

  7. Haven’t seen it. Will move it down my list.

    Rent City Island. You’ll like it, I promise. 🙂

  8. I really liked the book but the movie felt very contrived.

    In the book, you go through her process more, in the movie, shit just happens, TADA!

    Also, while I can imagine Julia Roberts as characters other than PW, she was miscast in this. Elizabeth Gilbert displayed so many levels of despair, anguish and revelation in her books that were missed in the portrayal.

    I read Eat, Pray Love before the hype and found it to be a very good, very well written, conversational memoir about finding your home in the world.

  9. I’m out of it.

    I must have heard something vaguely about the phenomenon because on the plane from Madrid to London (I’m doing lots of these trips this month) last week I saw young(ish) woman reading it, and I thought to myself, “Oh, I think I’ve heard of that book.”

    I turned back to my laptop and forgot about eating, praying, and loving until just now.

    I suspect I’m right there with you.

  10. I had no intention of seeing this film. Or reading the book for that matter. You’ve confirmed my decision 😉

  11. MostlyWater

    It’s ironic, I think, that, in the interest of compressing the book down to 2+ hours, much of Elizabeth’s self-serving motivations and subjectivism has been stripped away, laying bare only the facts of her predicament: She is simply another egocentric narcissist. Kudos to her for making it profitable, I suppose.

  12. Mostly–thanks for visiting Franklin and for commenting. I just wonder how many women out there (and men too, I suppose) wish they have the $$ to do something similar. I wonder if money wasn’t one of the key motivating factors all along. After all, the book was sold before she left New York.

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