Saturday, August 28, 2010

Eat Pray Love: the movie

Continuing on our dog days of summer series of exploring the Really Important Things Going On, a brief word about the movie version of Eat Pray Love:


In fact, I think that's what I'll call it from now on.

"You don't need a man, Liz.  But this is a movie."
I should have known from the previews in which gorgeously scruffy Javier Bardem says to gorgeously gangly Julia Roberts, "You don't need a man, Liz. You need a champion." That's a WTF moment right there. Did he really say that? Is that really in the book?

And so I've been scanning through the Bali section trying to find that moment. Not finding it. Instead, I'm finding the message I remembered when Liz considers whether to take up with Felipe or not:

If I am truly to become an autonomous woman, then I must take over that role of being my own guardian.

Now, that's more like it!

No way would Liz Gilbert respond positively to some man, however gorgeously scruffy, saying she needed a champion. And the more I think about it, the more WTF traded in the tired trope of championship. Richard from Texas, for example, became a spiritual champion, complete with Wise and Folksy Sayings and a Tragic Illustrative Tale. It spent way, way, way too much of its time harping on Liz-as-single while the book, as I remember it, is all about Liz-as-whole.

So WTF got the activities of the book right: first she left her husband; then she took up with someone; then she went to Italy; then India; then Bali where she met a man. But it totally missed the whole interior journey which was the point of the book. And in so doing I feel did a disservice to women--and men as well, forced to become champions when maybe they need help too.

It's beautifully filmed and well-cast and the more I think about it the angrier I get. How many people are going to see this movie and think they have learned the message of Eat, Pray, Love the book. I feel sorry for them, because they have been totally bamboozled.

1 comment:

Lorin said...

I really liked that book and the more I hear about the movie, the more convinced I am that I need to stay away. Thanks for taking one for the team.