“Eat, Pray, Love” was an insanely popular book a couple of years ago, and if you didn’t read it, chances are several women you know did. Written by Elizabeth Gilbert, the book is a memoir chronicling the soul-searching time she spent traveling in Rome, India and Bali after she realizes her life needs a new direction. Many found her story inspiring, many found it patronizing. Now many will find it in theaters, starring Julia Roberts.
I have not read “Eat, Pray, Love” because I find the premise irritating and a shining example of how out-of-touch with reality some people can be. Practically everyone at one time or another has been completely frustrated or disappointed with their life’s direction, and felt the need for a change. Practically no one has the resources (be it time, money, or support) to just pack up and leave everything behind. Gilbert was able to leave her entire life behind for a year to have a whirlwind adventure in three exotic countries without a care for anyone else but herself. Nice work if you can get it, I guess, but the rest of the world has commitments, obligations and bills to pay. So we’ll just have to take up knitting, instead.
As a memoir meant to inspire those without Gilbert’s resources to live life to the fullest, “Eat, Pray, Love” was a total turnoff for me. But as a movie, I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it would be a fun escapist movie, where you could watch it, marvel at the gorgeous locations, fantasize to yourself “if only…” for the two hours, then get on with life. When I heard that Julia Roberts would be starring — queen of the escapist movies — I thought it sounded a bit more promising. Then the trailer was released, and my revulsion for “Eat, Pray, Love” was born anew.
Apparently we’re meant to feel sorry for Roberts, a sad, overly-privileged woman who married the wrong man and now has no idea how to make it on her own. But rather than facing her problems head-on and figuring out how to be an adult, she takes off for her pretentious pilgrimage, which involves gorging herself on genuine Italian pizza and getting it on with Javier Bardem. So there’s a great life lesson in there for all of us: When this old world starts getting you down, just shirk all your responsibilities and run away, and everything will turn out just fine. And if Italian pizza and Javier Bardem are out of your price range, there’s always Papa John’s and the flirty delivery guy to make your life complete.
“Eat, Pray, Love” will make me vomit, curse, hate on Aug. 13.
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Follow Rachel Coyne on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TheOpinionatedB.