Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cranky At the Movies

When you fall asleep at a movie and begin to snore, that constitutes a review. When no one around you goes "shhhh," that constitutes another.

But in case my snoring at the Majestic Bay Theater is not sufficient, let me say why I hated EAT PRAY LOVE. I hadn't expected to hate it, because I found Elizabeth Gilbert's book (with commas, which somehow disappeared on the way to Hollywood) highly interesting. It's an inner journey, from an exclusively secular romantic despair to a state in which the equally secular author is finally able to accept and blend physical pleasure, a spiritual practice, and a realistic love affair. The journey starts in New York and ends in Bali, with Italy and India in between.

Gilbert is a nuanced writer with high awareness of her own motives and reactions, both of which are usually a complicated mess. In the book we are privy to all this complexity. The movie, however, downplays the spiritual journey and instead concentrates on Elizabeth and men. Either God is simply not as interesting as sex, or else He is too explosive and unsettling a topic for any movie that doesn't just take pot shots at Christian fundamentalists. Granted, watching people meditate for hours in an ashram does not make for much dramatic action, but the movie could have tried a little harder to show why Elizabeth bothers, what she gets from it, and why it matters to her. Instead, we get bantering with a male ashram-ite from Texas.

Julia Roberts does the best she can with this shallow stuff, and she is lovely to look at. The food in Italy is lovely, the saris in India are lovely, the scenery in Bali is lovely. Even the men (Stephen, David, Richard, Ian, Felipe) are lovely. But neither scenery nor loveliness a movie maketh. Skip this one and read the book instead.


Barbara Webb said...

Oh that's too bad. I enjoyed the book and was looking forward to the movie.

bluesman miike Lindner said...

Thank you, Nancy!

My girlfriend wants to see EAT PRAY LOVE.

I want to see THE EXPENDABLES.

Now I can say, "See, Karen, Nancy Kress gave EAT PRAY LOVE a bad review. Doesn't that prove something?"

And we will see THE EXPENDABLES. And two nights later, she will batter me to death in my sleep, with my prized Louisville Slugger.

Ah, well. We all gotta go sometime.

Okie said...

lol...great review.

I've only fallen asleep during one movie and it wasn't because the movie was particularly was because I'd just come off 48 hours of work with ~5 hours of sleep...and it was a movie I'd already seen (Only You).

I'm curious about Eat Pray Love and I generally enjoy Julia Roberts, but I think this is one of those cases when I'd want to read the book first because I keep hearing lukewarm buzz on the film.