15 August 2010

That's it, I'm going full WALDEN and I mean it this time

Today I was going to write a review of a film I unhappily saw this weekend called "Eat, Pray, Love." As I walked out of this movie I said to my compadres, "You know what the worst part of that movie was? As I watched it, I felt... nothing. Just what Elizabeth Gilbert complained of in her first marriage, nothing."

I was wrong on that count. (Spoilers start here.) What I felt, but recognized later, was an overwhelming sense of revulsion towards the commodification of the world in which the character "Liz Gilbert" finds herself. She buys herself a new life for a year and then in every country, she buys more stuff! Like jeans that are too tight because she has been consuming fabulous meals, and statues of Ganesh because it's totally okay to appropriate someone else's religious symbols for yourself, and she buys someone a house because she's just that nice. And we're led to believe that her healing is linked to all this... stuff. She's like one of the bad children in CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, only instead of experiencing bodily harm she gets to fly in the great glass elevator with her Brazilian boyfriend, whose suffering seems custom-designed to match her own. She must have filled out the order form for that too!

I think I'm having an allergic reaction to all this. I would not wish this feeling on anyone, but if such description does not suffice, you can feel it for yourself by reading the puff piece about Gilbert's new venture from today's New York Times. She traveled all over the world, and then she came home and opened a STORE. Where people can BUY their souls instead of looking for them. How sweet it is, that her movie deal has allowed her to BUY more stuff and SELL it to others. That the Times doesn't feel the need to call her out on that is, as they say, some bullshit.

Filmbook Verdict: Try to remember what's actually important in your life, because it isn't in either this book or this movie.


8yearoldsdude said...


totally agree with you.

Ellen said...

The coining of "privlit" is pretty amazing.

It probably wouldn't have helped this movie at all to include the detail that Gilbert was traveling on a book deal which she secured before she left, thus granting her the money (or at least most of it) to make the trip. I would have liked to see that included, but I guess it would be dangerous to crossbreed those two fantasies.

And now I have to see a mass produced poster for "Eat Pray Love" themed travel packages every day at an agency around the corner from my office.