Eat Pray Love, a film adapted from the best selling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert is the story of a woman who travels the world to find herself and inner peace after divorcing her husband.
In the film, Elizabeth “Liz” Gilbert (played by Julia Roberts), an author living in New York City, wakes up in the middle of the night and decides that she no longer wants to be married to her husband, Stephen (Billy Crudup) because she feels trapped in the monotony and routine of her life.
Following her painful divorce, Liz quickly falls in love with a younger man, David (James Franco) who inspires her to learn Hindu practices and meditate. When their relationship slowly starts falling apart, Liz decides it’s time to be single for a year. Liz’s realization that men are her distraction from dealing with her own emotions brings her to the conclusion that she needs to be secluded. Liz decides to travel for a year, first going to Italy, then India, then Bali.
When Liz arrives in Italy, she is frazzled, intimidated and confused by Italian culture. Of course, overtime, Liz becomes accustomed to her surroundings and soon she is enjoying gelato by a pack of nuns in front of a cathedral. Endless shots of Liz eating carbohydrates in many forms ensue, followed by her retiring to her rented room each night, reading aloud phrases from her Italian dictionary. Liz learns to say “sono sola” or “I am alone,” and begins to cry. At this point, I asked myself if Liz could ever make a decision that wouldn’t upset her. She decided to leave her husband and travel abroad, and now she is sitting in Italy crying because she is alone. Is this woman ever happy?
After her whirlwind of pasta eating and gaining weight, Liz is thrown into a totally different culture when she visits India. Again, she is at first frazzled and awkward about not fitting in, and eventually finds her place. It is in India where Liz learns discipline, waking up before sunrise each day, scrubbing the floors of her dormitory and eventually participating in the orientation process for tourists taking meditation retreats. India seemed to be the most challenging for Liz but also the most fulfilling, as she chose to forgive herself for leaving her husband for no other reason than for her own self.
Finally, Liz visits Bali where she regularly talks with an old medicine man named Ketut. Liz met Ketut years before on a previous trip to Bali, where Ketut prophesized Liz would return. In Bali, Liz tries to learn how to love again, and this is where the movie comes to a close.
Although this movie was touching, well written and visually stunning, I couldn’t help but hate Liz just a little bit. Watching this movie made me wonder how the tourism in these three countries would increase, with many more middle-aged women visiting, who are freshly divorced and trying to “find” themselves.
Everyone can relate to Liz – we all feel stressed and sometimes even depressed by the routine in our lives. I do agree with her sentiment that stepping outside of your comfort zone and seeing the world does inhibit personal growth and change. However, I am not so sure that making the rash decision to end your marriage and quit your job all so you can eat, pray and love is necessarily the best route to sanity, either. It seemed more like she was running away from everything and starting over, rather than trying to fix her life.
Eat Pray love was two hours and thirteen minutes of one woman trying to feel better about herself, when her life wasn’t that bad in the first place.