With opening day quickly approaching and TV spots multiplying, it’s hard to get away from the Eat Pray Love influence and the buzz that’s surrounding it. That’s why we’ve listed three reasons why it’s worth the hype – and two reasons why it’s not – so that while you stand amidst its pop culture infiltration, you’ll know why you should defend or oppose the decision to read the book as well. (But beware, spoilers are contained, so if you’re set on going in to be surprised, you may want to read the book first.)
Worth the hype:
To take a year to leave everything behind and to focus solely on the developing of one’s self can be a terrifying notion – and the only thing that would up the ante and increase its fear factor is to do it alone on the other side of the world. This isn’t a roadtrip, a vacation or the sequel to Crossroads, but one woman’s journey through various life steps that prompt her to deal with issues and emotions many of us have. And while Elizabeth Gilbert’s story may have been Hollywood-ized just a little, the idea of learning to be happy with you is still the most important thing.
Location, Location, Location
While we’d all love to hop aboard a plane to see three breathtaking areas of the world, most of us can barely afford a weekend in Montreal let alone 365 days of travel. That’s why the sets of Eat Pray Love do a wonderful job of bringing the loveliness of Italy, India and Indonesia to every viewer, with breathtaking scenery complimenting Gilbert’s journey of self-discovery, thus making it obvious as to why she so thoroughly embraced each location. No, we may not physically be there, but for approximately two hours – and with popcorn and treats in hand – we can pretend we are.
Sure, this may be a story of independence and embracing all things adventurous, but the charm and handsomeness of the ever-wonderful Javier Bardem can’t exactly be denied. (And spoiler alert: what’s best is that he plays Elizabeth Gilbert’s current husband – she wrote her next bestseller, Committed, following their marriage – so not only does he deserve to be swooned after, he portrays a decent person who supports the notion of “partnership”.) Cue: *nods of approval* once more.
Not so much:
Yes, the film is based on the true story of Elizabeth Gilbert, but just because the author travelled the world to find herself (and spoiler alert: subsequently a husband), doesn’t mean the rest of us need to pack our bags and hop on a plane to find out who we are. Journeys of self-discovery should happen every day, and if the film fails to distinguish between Gilbert’s personal tale and what’s expected of the women watching, the audience will be treated to the lesson that it’s only possible to break with the past if you’re thousands of miles away. (Which – as 95% of us can attest to – is certainly not the case.)
Single and Fabulous
It’s wonderful that Gilbert chose to back away from what she felt was a bad relationship (following her divorce prior), but while she met her husband in the midst of a journey of self-reflection, let’s hope the film doesn’t wax poetic on the need to be in a partnership in order to be happy. There’s nothing wrong with being single, and while we may swoon over the dynamic between Bardem and Roberts, it’s important that we understand that this was Gilbert’s journey and subsequent marriage, and not necessarily the way things ought to be.