Eat lots of pasta, Pray…sort of, Love yourself more than anyone else in the world.

24 Aug

On Sunday night two of my friends wanted to see Eat Pray Love, the new Julia Roberts movie based on the memoir of the same name by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Having glanced through the book at Borders a while back and therefore knowing what the movie would be about, plus not being a terribly big Julia fan, I wasn’t particularly interested in seeing it.  However, I played the good sport and went with them.

Here is a good logline for the film:

After divorcing her husband because he doesn’t fulfill all of her wildest dreams and make her feel “alive” every minute of the day, a selfish, self-centered woman embarks on a fling with a younger actor and when he doesn’t fulfill all of her wildest dreams either, she takes a year to stuff her face with pasta in Italy for four months, then try to meditate in India for four months, then study with a guru in Bali, where she meets a swarthy Brazilian divorcé and falls in love and doesn’t spend all that much time with the guru anymore because she’s too busy having sex.

From a production standpoint, the film is very nice to look at.  The locations are real and lovingly photographed.  The movie also contains a lot of witty one-liners, thanks to co-writer/director Ryan Murphy, the creator of Glee and Nip/Tuck.  And props to the cinematographer, hair, makeup, and wardrobe peeps for keeping Julia Roberts perfectly groomed and dressed throughout.  Sure, she looked way too glamorous to be believable in the settings her character was in, but that’s Hollywood for ya.  (Even more Hollywood for ya:  the amusing casting of the men in the movie.  The guy who played the supposed schlub loser husband:  Billy Crudup.  The guy who played the young, hot, loser actor:  James Franco.  So who do they get to play Liz’s one true love, since clearly we’re not supposed to believe either of Crudup or Franco is man enough for Liz?  Javier Bardem, one of the few actors today who can portray dangerous masculinity.)

For all the beauty of the movie, though, and all of the exhortations for us to believe that we’re watching Liz’s journey of awakening and self-discovery blah blah blah, I didn’t feel that the film was ever able to convince us (or at least me) that Liz did the right thing in ditching her husband and traveling around the world in search of ~feelings.  There is a brief scene in the movie where Liz and her lawyer meet with Crudup’s character.  He has decided to represent himself, because he believes that Liz is going through a phase and that she’ll eventually come to her senses and come back to him.  Liz tells him they are incompatible.  (Later in the movie she tells others that they got married too young and grew apart…which could possibly be believable, except that Julia Roberts is 42 and the characters were married for only 8 years.)  Crudup doesn’t believe it.  He loves her.  They took vows for life.  Exasperated that he’s not just rolling over and taking it, Liz tells him that he needs to choose a direction for his life.  Apparently he killed all the tingles by dabbling too much and not committing to a life path that made buko bucks.  Crudup cries, with all of the pain of a man whose love has been rejected, “YOU!  I choose YOU!”  To which Liz has nothing to say, because she knows she is doing a monstrous thing and wants desperately not to feel guilty about it.

That’s really what the movie boils down to:  Liz’s journey to find people to entertain her so she won’t have to do any work in a relationship.  She makes friends in Italy, but their relationships seem to be about constant eating and entertainment.  In India she is very bad at meditating, yet she finds a cantankerous (sexually unattractive) older man to hang around with who negs her all the time.  In Bali she is supposed to study with a guru, but then she meets a Brazilian who won’t leave her alone.  I think we’re supposed to believe that he opens her up to love again, but it just comes off as her finding someone who makes her feel a certain way and whom she doesn’t have to do anything for in return.  The really strange thing about this movie is that I thought the men were written and portrayed with deep, real honesty, while Liz was the selfish delusionoid.

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13 Responses to “Eat lots of pasta, Pray…sort of, Love yourself more than anyone else in the world.”

  1. Cane Caldo August 24, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

    I read “The Last American Man” several years ago, and liked it. Her style is decent, and the subject wad fun. Her analysis and conclusions were awful though. You could tell she liked him. I wonder if she was married while writing that…

  2. Lover of Wisdom August 24, 2010 at 4:57 pm #

    Haley:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t you involved with the entertainment business in LA? If so, you should post more of your dealings in this area from your unique perspective.

  3. dalrock August 24, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    Great write up.

    Later in the movie she tells others that they got married too young and grew apart…which could possibly be believable, except that Julia Roberts is 42 and the characters were married for only 8 years.

    From what I can tell she was about 31 when they divorced, so that would mean she married at 23. I was thinking they were married for 5 years, but can’t find any links to back that up. Either way, she certainly was old enough. Her first husband was a fool though. He met her at a bar where she worked as a bartender. You don’t marry girls like that…

    One of the things I find funny about her is her crusade to ‘fix’ marriage (http://www.elizabethgilbert.com/QandA.htm ). She is big on the idea that marrying too young is the biggest cause of divorce. I haven’t weighed through all of the stats, but I’m guessing a huge part (if not all) of the different outcomes can be traced back to IQ and race, both of which factor heavily on divorce rates.

  4. Aunt Haley August 24, 2010 at 6:47 pm #

    I think the biggest cause of divorce is the easy availability of divorce and the belief that lack of “happiness” is a legitimate reason to sever the marriage bond.

    Re: IQ and race – in general the more differences between people, the harder it is to sustain a marriage.

  5. Aunt Haley August 24, 2010 at 7:10 pm #

    Lover of Wisdom,
    If the opportunity to write something related arises, I may blog about it. But I don’t want this to become a “my adventures in Los Angeles” blog.

  6. Will S. August 24, 2010 at 8:00 pm #

    Oh goodness gracious! There was a book review in Maclean’s Magazine (Canadian newsmagazine) recently about some advice book advocating the same thing, encouraging young women to delay getting married till they’re older. Like they’re not already doing that! Sheesh.

    The job of the Church, of course, ought to be encouraging the very opposite, i.e. marriage very early on into adulthood. Alas, few churches out there have the cojones to do that, apart from some mostly ethnic-minority churches, e.g. some very traditional Dutch Calvinist ones.

  7. dalrock August 25, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

    I wasn’t thinking of mixed marriages, but of the predictive power that IQ has on likelyhood of divorce. But since IQ isn’t something most researchers like to recognize (it isn’t PC) they end up putting in all sorts of proxy items which will pick up the effects of IQ, and attributing the difference to the proxy instead of IQ.

  8. Memsahab August 28, 2010 at 6:54 pm #

    “He met her at a bar where she worked as a bartender. You don’t marry girls like that…”

    Girls like WHAT exactly?

  9. Cane Caldo August 29, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    Sluts. Theoretically chaste women could work at a bar…but it would probably be a theoretical bar, too.

  10. Memsahab September 2, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    Ridiculous.

    I’ve known several women, both single and married, who worked at bars to feed their kids because it pays better than regular waitressing or retail work.

    All of the married ones were faithful and all of the single ones were celibate or close to it.

    You seem to be sheltered and don’t get out much if you really think that bartenders are all sluts.

  11. Anonymous January 15, 2011 at 9:53 am #

    I just got divorced and I concur. Haven’t seen the movie or read the book (don’t want to now either) but to the position and feelings of the Crudup character I can wholely attest. The rest of this article, too. Me now-Ex sent me, for my future reference, the New York Times’ recent article on sustainable marriage:

    “The Happy Marriage Is the ‘Me’ Marriage,” by Tara Parker-Pope, NYT, 31 Dec 2010
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/02/weekinreview/02parkerpope.html

    (Like the title suggests it’s all about Me, Me, Me for the woman… or she’s outta there.) I sent her back links to the celebratory NYT article on two people who’d broken up their previous marriages/families to be together

    “Carol Anne Riddell and John Partilla,” by Devan Sipher, NYT, 17 Dec 2010,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/19/fashion/weddings/19vows.html

    and the backlash

    “Groom Regrets Scandalous NYT Wedding Feature,” by Joe Pompeo, Yahoo! News, 21 Dec 2010
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thecutline/20101221/ts_yblog_thecutline/groom-regrets-scandalous-nyt-wedding-feature

    about it. I can’t say they made the same impression on her that they did on me or that Eat, Pray, Love did on you.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] Haley – “Eat Lots of Pasta, Pray…Sort Of, Love Yourself More Than Anyone Else in the World.“, “Virtue Alone is Not […]

  2. Flyer sent home with our kindergartner. | Dalrock - September 16, 2010

    […] reminded me of another excellent comment Haley made on her blog entry on Eat Pray Love: I think the biggest cause of divorce is the easy availability […]

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