Eat (not in restaurants 3x per day), Pray (for a cheaper travel itinerary), Love (those obvious close-ups of Javier Bardem’s leather man sandals)

(From Sept. 2010)

Finally saw Eat Pray Love today. For those of us who don’t have a lot of money saved up for travel, it’s hard to sympathize with the protagonist. The movie’s depicted journey of self-discovery looks like most people’s extravagant dream vacations (that they may never get the chance to take). If you add up airfare to Italy, India, and Bali, add in the stay at the popular ashram, and rent for the apartment and bungalow, the year of travel runs up a big ticket. The movie doesn’t provide much hope to those of us who can’t afford the same itinerary as the main character– she eats out every meal in Italy and meets an ueber-handsome Brazilian in a serendipitous minor bicycling accident not far from the glorious bungalow she has rented for her time of emotional convalescence.

I would have been more sympathetic if the writer / character had alluded to things like this:

Matador Network and other online travel blogs talk daily about affordable travel for everyone. Or just ask me about cheap travel. I’ve saved up money waiting tables, and look where I’ve been this past year– there are easy ways to go virtually anywhere you want on literally next to nothing. Even I can personally attest to the fact that my worst travels have, by some strange twist of fate, been those occasions when I spent more money. There is something to be said about eating beans out of a can over a campfire under the stars. (And you better believe I got those beans on sale!)

Ultimately my question is, what would have been the fate of the woman in Eat Pray Love if she didn’t already have those financial resources to escape for a year? I assume, hopefully, that she would have just figured out how to do her trip on a much lower budget. What if she had children from that marriage? etc.

Worst of all, the movie begins and ends with a man. At the beginning of the story, the failed relationship spurs the self-exploration; two hours and thirteen minutes later, she pledges to spend her life with yet another man. It’s great that the story has a happy ending; everyone deserves a companion, if that’s what you want– it’s just that the message of empowerment and love for oneself could have been more successfully conveyed if the movie were to have ended in a snapshot of a woman being fulfilled and thrilled to be on her own.

2 Comments on “Eat (not in restaurants 3x per day), Pray (for a cheaper travel itinerary), Love (those obvious close-ups of Javier Bardem’s leather man sandals)”

  1. Karen February 26, 2011 at 14:58 #

    I agree. I love Julia Roberts but this is just not a feel good movie because it is so unrealistic for the majority of people…plus, your empowerment comment is totally right on.

  2. Marisa LaValette February 26, 2011 at 15:48 #

    Hi Karen,

    Thanks for that constructive comment! Julia Roberts probably did everything she could with her wide range of abilities to make the story engaging for the viewers, but there’s only so much she can do within the boundaries of the role.

    Thanks for reading!

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