My feeling after finishing the book Eat, Pray, Love (sometime in 2008 I think?) was that it was a good story of one woman’s life, but not one that particularly resonated with me. I didn’t love it or hate it, it didn’t piss me off, it didn’t make me contemplate the grand meaning of life, nothing, nada. I just put it down and moved on to a new book.
It seems I did not have the same experience as the rest of America. Not only did the book deeply touch a lot of women, but it raised the eyebrows of a lot of keen business people. The movie release has spawned a whole line of products, including but not limited to Eat, Pray, Love perfume, and exorbitantly priced vacations to mirror Gilbert’s.
And like anything that reaches a lot of people and has wild success, there is a counterculture of people who turn their nose up at the brew-ha-ha. It’s just like Lululemon. Half of the yogi world is devoted to the brand and the other half hates it and what it stands for.
My general “eh” feeling about the book aside, I went into the movie feeling open-minded. And…I liked it! I think Liz Gilbert’s story actually seemed more suited for the big screen than for print. Her tale seemed more transformative, less self-indulgent, more universal as a movie. Julia Roberts did a brilliant job portraying the glamorous and not-so-glamorous facets of self-reinvention. Her performance was believable and genuine. It was an artistically done film, wonderfully cast, touching in all the right moments, and heartbreakingly honest. My only big complaint is that they kind of made the ex-husband look like a total moron, and hey, there are two sides to every story, right?
And how is yoga depicted in the film? Honestly, there wasn’t any asana practice in the movie. There was one line about her boyfriend being a “crunchy yogi”. Once we see Liz defeatedly unrolling her mat in Rome, then shrugging it off to go eat more pasta (and she eats a LOT of pasta). But we get to see lots and lots of meditation and padmasana, including a hilarious scene where Liz fights the monkey mind to sit for a single minute of meditation before giving up – probably my favorite part of the whole movie.
Go see the movie, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Or if you’ve seen it, let me know what you thought!
PS- The most apt thing I’ve read about the Eat, Pray, Love phenomenon was this piece by Courtney at Feministing. I also enjoyed Slate’s piece on the literary perspective: “Who isn’t writing the next Eat, Pray, Love?” And since it’s so pertinent to the EPL theme, check out the How to Be Alone video, it’s gorgeous.