eat, pray, love/read, watch, listen

Elizabeth Gilbert has become quite the celebrity with her book Eat, Pray, Love followed by the film of the same name – and for good reason.

I finally got to watch Eat Pray Love after months of  anticipation. I had wanted to watch it ever since I watched the first trailer many months ago and that want grew even stronger after reading the book. Before I tell you my thoughts on the movie, I must present you with my very raw, initial reaction (written on 30 May) to the book:

I  loved this book. I’m sorry that it’s over. I think Elizabeth Gilbert has already written a second book so I’m going to need to read that ASAP! This book makes me yearn for a similar experience, but one of my own. When she was in Italy, I so wanted to go back there myself! I really can’t wait to go back to Italy and travel all over it, but reading the bits where she was in Italy made me want to that much more. When she was in India, I wished that I could be able to meditate and be closer to God. I know, after reading this book, that I can do that, but I need to work hard and want it, pretty much, more than anything. After reading this book, though, I am even more confused about my religion. When she was in Indonesia, well..ha, I’m not sure what to think about her time in Bali. That was her own experience, this entire book, and I’m grateful that she wrote about it and shared it with others. I just wish I was as ambitious.

The movie, however, wasn’t even close for me and I hadn’t expected it to be. The chance of a movie being better than the book is probably about 1/100 (at least, for me). I was most disappointed with the ending and since the ending is, naturally, the last part of a movie that you’re left with…it devours an otherwise perhaps more positive review. The movie started out great and very true to the book. My expectations grew for the rest of the movie just from the first few minutes; the charm that was in the book seemed to have seeped into the film. One of the biggest setbacks in reading a book before watching the movie is that you can’t help but miss the parts left out that were in the book.

I felt that the character development for Elizabeth wasn’t nearly as strong as it should have been. The story is about her growing, but we only got a glimpse of her depression and how far she’d gone from her dreams. Not only was Elizabeth’s character lacking, but many important people from the book were not mentioned at all which I’d found vital to the story. While in India (which was only shown for one out of four months), she experiences enlightenment and takes a huge step in healing herself, but that too was not in the film. This may have been a nice movie, but I doubt anyone could learn very much from it as I did from the book.

I loved that, because I was watching a movie, I got to see beautiful Rome rather than picture the places Elizabeth had described in her book.  The Ashram in India and the scenes shown in Bali were so close to how Elizabeth described them. By the time we skipped to Bali, and I really do mean “skip”, it sort of went downhill from there. Everything felt so rushed. So many beautiful parts of the story were not shown. And then the end… completely Hollywoodified. Sometimes, the beauty of a film is how raw and beautiful and true it is. As always, they should have just kept to the story.

I have mixed feelings about the movie soundtrack. I was expecting great things from the trailer song: Florence + The Machine’s Dog Days Are Over. It’s my favorite Florence + The Machine song. I appreciate that many of the songs are not your usual Top 40 hits and correspond to the scenes in the movie, but I wish more of the music had been ethnic and from Italy, India, and Indonesia. Every time I travel, I always wish I’d been able to hear more cultural music. Some songs that stand out to me are the two Eddie Vedder songs (an artist which I’ve liked since watching Into the Wild) and, one of my favorite composers, Dario Marianelli’s Attraversiamo. Attraversiamo is Elizabeth’s favorite Italian word which means “let’s cross over”. It was a really nice song to hear in the credits. I have to say, though…I think most of the songs are okay and the soundtrack is growing on me.

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