Tuesday, August 24, 2010

So... I watched "Eat, Pray, Love" last night.

I know. I feel slightly dirty, and I don't have a priest so you readers will have to hear my confession.

The movie is as insipid as the book, but faster, and with some nice cinematography.

Actually, what made me curious was the comments here saying that Gilbert cheated on her husband, because I didn't recall cheating from the part of the book that I read. And after seeing the movie I still don't see how she cheated. (Spoiler alert coming up, not that there's much to spoil.) She had told her husband she wanted a divorce and they were living separately before she got involved with the yogi from Yonkers. At least, that's how it went down in the movie. Was it different in the book? Those of you who say she cheated, is that because she wasn't legally divorced yet? I guess I don't see the legal technicality as constituting cheating. Does it suck for the husband? Absolutely, but, well, all's fair in love and war. Was she supposed to stay when she knew they would both be unhappy if she did?

The relationship part isn't what bothers me about the Eat, Pray, Love phenomenon. And it's not that she traveled (though I'm jealous that she had all expenses paid), because I think travel is a great way to gain perspective and broaden horizons. Cognitive Dissenter hit it on the head when she described the book as staged. That's exactly how it felt to me. There's just something that feels slimy about setting out on a spiritual quest with the intent of selling a book about it. Wanting to write a book should come after the epiphanies. It feels tainted if you go looking for epiphanies so you can write books about them.

EPL is harmless enough. I just don't understand why it's so popular. But then, human beings don't all see the same things.


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  1. In the book, she says that she moved out of her house and directly into her lover's apartment, and gave her husband whatever he wanted, the house, a huge portion of her book income, etc., because of her guilt. She never says outright that she had an affair but I felt like the context was pretty clear; most of the articles written about the book mention the affair as well.

    I agree with you totally: it wasn't about the trip, it was about how the whole thing was staged. That's what made me resentful of the book, that she planned her spiritual enlightenment with a 200K advance. Since she admits that she rarely has been without a man and doesn't really know what to do with herself without one, even the Brazilian love connection could have been expected.

  2. I totally agree - the book was staged and insipid. I found tiny bits of genuine in the book but they didn't last very long. The fact that she was given a hefty advance on the book doesn't help with the adventure part of it. It is lacking in all sorts of places - but people like that kind of shallow crap :)
    Yeah - and as Chandelle says - the "rarely without a man" crap seriously turned me off. What a dull life! I skipped to the end about half way through. A sign of predictability.

  3. I think the best part of the movie was a preview for a James Brooks film coming out in December.

  4. Eat, Pray, Love turned me off too. I don't plan on seeing the film, so can you tell me about the James L. Brooks preview? I love him.

  5. Okay, gave up on the book today, a few pages into the Pray section. She's in this ashram, which she says is basically the totality of this tiny town's economy, such as it is, and there is incredible poverty outside of the lavish setting of the ashram, which is attended primarily by Americans and Europeans... Yeah. DONE.

  6. Haha Leah. I don't even remember what the trailer was called but I wanted to see it just because it had James Brooks attached to it too. Honestly I think the only reason I liked the movie was because I had a date with me. We could have been cuddling in a theater for two and a half hours, watching nothing and it would have been just as enjoyable.

  7. Chandelle, I didn't get that far in the book, but that would do it for me too.

    John, yes, I've had experience with going to movies but not really watching them.

  8. Leah,

    I stumbled on a commentary at Religion Dispatches on EAT, PRAY, LOVE that might interest you.



Religion, skepticism, and carving out a spiritual life post-Mormonism