Eat, Pray, Love is based on the true story of Elizabeth Gilbert. Eat, Pray, Love was first published in book form in 2006. It was a #1 New York Times bestseller. I have waited four years since reading the book hoping it would be made into a movie. I got my wish, and today I saw Eat Pray Love on the big screen, with one of my favorite actors Julia Roberts playing the lead role of Liz Gilbert, a woman on a mission to find herself. I related to this woman on so many levels and the movie touched me so deeply that I cried for all of the experiences I have not had in my life.
First, the scenery in the movie is amazing, especially if you’ve never visited these places. I’m sure the film didn’t do the actual places the justice they deserve, but nonetheless I enjoyed getting a view of Italy, India, and Indonesia if only at the movies.
Liz Gilbert, a woman in her thirties should be happy. She has only been married a year, has a country home, a successful career and caring friends. So why isn’t she fulfilled and happy? She doesn’t know. She just knows she doesn’t want to be married anymore, so she gets a divorce and decides to take a year-long sabbatical from her life and visit three places to examine different aspects of her nature. Her journey leads her to Italy, India and Bali in Indonesia.
In Italy Liz (Roberts) discovers the art of eating, hires a tutor to learn the language, and meets several interesting friends along the way. In Italy, eating is enjoyed and counting calories are not something they worry about. Liz learns to view food as a pleasure to all the senses, feel, smell, taste, and visual. She learns to take pleasure in “doing nothing.” I can relate to that. Life is so busy in America that people don’t actually know how to “do nothing.” In fact, many Americans see this as laziness. I do not see it this way. To me “doing nothing” sometimes is needed to de-stress, or to sit in silence and listen for what God may have to tell you. Reading a book, listening to music, and enjoying a long meal, taking the time to actually taste and appreciate it is a lost art. Returning to these simple things is what Liz needed and it is what I long for. Rest, silence and peace are what I desire and I wouldn’t mind doing it in lovely Italy!
India was the place Liz wanted to discover devotion to “something.” Not being particularly religious in the past, she feels compelled to pray for the first time in her life. She meets Richard in India who is from Texas, in India trying to free himself from his own personal demons. It is he that teaches Liz the importance of “forgiving yourself.” Feeling guilty for leaving behind her life, friends and ex-husband, but knowing she had to take this journey to find meaning for her life, Liz listens to Richard as tells her his personal story of losing his family and home to alcoholism, drugs, and stupidity. Richard encourages Liz to forgive herself and then let it go. Liz is also mentored by a Buddhist healer on how to free herself and find happiness within. She discovers how to empty her mind through praying and meditation. This frees Liz from her restlessness and teaches her self-control and discipline. India was not as beautiful as Italy, but it was full of wise people who knew how to pray and achieve an inner happiness.
Bali in Indonesia
By the time Liz makes it to Bali, she is well on her way to becoming a whole person again. A little heavier from her eating pleasures in Italy, more focused and free from her guilt in India, Liz is now ready to see if she can learn how to Love. She is still afraid of “losing herself” in a relationship, and isn’t in Bali on a man hunt, but does miss feeling loved by someone. I can relate to the fear of losing oneself to another. Insecurity and lack of trust compels me to giving up myself completely in a relationship, losing my identity and getting hurt in the process because I set myself up for failure at the start. Liz however unknowingly and unexpectedly meets Philippe who is suffering from a broken heart and the two become friends and then hesitantly lovers. Because of the confidence and wisdom she gained during her journey she can love Philippe and not lose herself in the process. The scenes of Bali were breathtaking. Who couldn’t find love in Bali?
Liz’s journey of self indulgence is something I believe most women crave at some point in life. To be able to leave behind all of your troubles and travel to beautiful places to discover you physically, emotionally, and spiritually, would be a wonderful experience. Some very fortunate people can find true love, happiness, and themselves and never leave home. Others find it harder to find their place in life. This movie made me happy for a few hours. To escape to Italy, India, and Indonesia in my mind was a fantastic and much needed hiatus from my stressed out life.
I recommend Eat, Pray, Love to those who also want to escape and go on a terrific self-indulging journey.