I may be four years too late for this to be relevant but what the hay, when in Rome.
Let me set the scene. After an aborted attempt to watch this movie in 2010 with my then university flatmates (I was sadly overruled), I found myself wanting to watch this film but never finding the time or the inclination to do so. The usual reasons apply: too busy, too many other movies and, frankly, too much cynicism to truly appreciate the message. Life is about balance and while I don’t have an ex-husband or any of the other stuff Liz has, I understand the struggle just the same. I am often racing ahead, trying to deal with things that haven’t happened yet when I can barely cope with the ones that have.
So what do you do when you are so imbalanced that everything seems impossible? You go on a journey.
As far as journeying or questing narratives go, it isn’t a bad one. She gets from A to B to C with the right amount of emotional solitude and mental anguish but it isn’t until the film is over that you necessarily understand what has come to pass. You eat to feed the soul, you pray to ease the mind and you love to calm the heart. And these are all things that can only be accomplished by one’s self.
“God dwells within me as me.”
Theology aside, we are our own higher power and we are the only one’s who can free ourselves from our fears of the future. Sadly, I do feel like this message does get buried in the Hollywood of it all. A movie should be thought provoking throughout, not just in retrospect. And spiritual enlightenment in any form is personal, which is why I think I am going to recommend reading the book before watching the movie*. If this were only about love then I would say proceed but Liz’s lessons are too important to be lost in the simplicity of a happy ending.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars. Julia Roberts was great, actually all the cast were great but it felt too syrupy yet bland in places.
[*Gilbert, Elizabeth. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia (New York: Penguin Ltd, 2006)]