I read the book when it first came out, long before it had been hyped to the heavens, and I loved it. I loved it simply because, gosh, it was a swell book, written in a voice I found both funny and endearing. It did not dramatically alter my life's course, spiritually or otherwise, but it entertained the heck out of me. And this is why it annoys the ever loving BESHITTILYFUCK out of me when people go off about how much they despised this book. And how much they despise the woman who wrote it for being so selfish. And irresponsible. And vapid. And spiritually bankrupt. And lightweight. And ridiculous. And OH MY GOD MY BLOOD PRESSURE.
Just stop it, people.
Eat Pray Love was a memoir. A really funny memoir, in my opinion.
And I'm sorry if you feel it sends a "bad message to women" that she left her husband, traveled around the world, and wound up finding true love again, but, the thing is? SHE LEFT HER HUSBAND, TRAVELED AROUND THE WORLD, AND WOUND UP FINDING TRUE LOVE AGAIN.
It's a TRUE STORY, see? That's how memoirs work. If you change the ending, and all the middle parts, so that she sticks out the lame marriage and has a baby like you would have, and gets a job in human resources just like YOURS, then it would be (da, da, dah ...) a NOVEL! A really shitty, boring-ass, novel that I defy even a loyal and steadfast human resources person such as yourself to finish.
Next week on Blabbermouse: Biographies! And Why You Can't Write One About Yourself.
I don't know what it is with me defending Eat Pray Love. I just sense that Elizabeth Gilbert is a very nice person with a good sense of humor who doesn't NEED YOUR SHIT.
You may have other reasons for hating this book. My sister in law did. So did my friend Margot, and several other people I love and respect (and want to throttle. WHY WHY WHY DIDN'T YOU LIKE IT?). Wait. Don't answer that. As the self appointed guardian angel to Miss Gilbert, I will not open up the floor for yet another catty debate about whether this book was good or not. I simply don't think you're capable of having a mature and rational discussion about it.
It was a good book, and that's final.
WAS TOO, WAS TOO!
Anyway! Not to get all fighty.
I went by myself to see the movie, because I suspected it was the sort of movie that would
a) kill Larry
b) make me cry for no reason
And I was right on both counts! What I failed to predict was that the movie would be so ...
Not really very good at all.
I'm not sorry I saw it. Julia Roberts is so lovely and radiant, I would pay $10.50 to watch her pick nits off a goat for two and a half hours, but the whole time I was watching, I wondered if this movie would even make sense to someone who hadn't read the book.
Why is she leaving her husband? He seems like a nice enough guy. A little dull maybe, but. Why would she be attracted to James Franco's character? He reminded me of Joey on Friends. How could she afford to make this trip when he got all the money in the divorce? Since when did Sophie and Giovanni become a couple? Why are Liz and Sophie hanging out in a barber shop with a guy named Luca Spaghetti? None of this is accounted for in the movie. Perhaps because the director was too busy stereotyping the living shit out of Italians.
It was just ...
Did you know that Roman women feed their little doggies with silver cutlery at street cafes? Did you know that Italians SCREAM when they are ordering espresso? They do! They scream and shove, and GESTICULATE WILDLY. And dangerously. And also, they scream! The cafe and coffee shop scenes reminded me of a highly choreographed introduction to a Broadway musical. I half expected Julia Roberts to shout "FREEZE" and walk around inspecting these yappy foreign creatures and their mysterious cannoli.
I understand that the book is called Eat Pray Love, and that the whole "eat" thing had to be addressed somehow, but HOO BOY, this director made some interesting choices on that front. In one scene, the camera comes in for a revolting and much-too-long close up of Julia Roberts's mouth, as she basically performs fellatio on a plate of spaghetti to the soundtrack of *La Traviata. I was embarrassed for her mouth.
*I don't actually think La Traviata was playing in the background, but it felt that way.
Another thing the movie failed to capture is that Elizabeth Gilbert (my dear Elizabeth!) is funny. Even while performing voice-overs of the author's actual text, Julia Roberts couldn't get that across. When Elizabeth Gilbert first talks about prayer, and how she hadn't prayed in so long, she says she felt like warming up to God by telling him she's a big fan of his work. It was a funny line when Gilbert wrote it. The way Julia delivered it, without a trace of humor, it was like an anvil being dropped on my head.
The "Pray" portion, which took place in India, managed to gloss over the whole prayer issue pretty nicely, so those of you who find meditation and ashrams boring will be happy about that. If it weren't for the little Indian girl and the elephant wearing flowers, I would have forgotten we were at an ashram all together. It felt more like AA.
Indonesia was ... pleasant but soulless. And pleasantly filled with Javier Bardem. Whose son in the movie was Australian? Or British? Or ... he didn't look Brazilian or anything like Javier Bardem, and I kept getting confused and mistaking him for the skinny dipping Australian guy and wondering why they were hanging out together ... and Kertut was cute. And then Julia Roberts fell in love like she always does and the movie was over. The End.
Have you seen it? Will you?