SPOILER ALERT: MOVIE DETAILS REVIEWED. Read at your own discretion.
I’m right at this moment watching “Eat, Pray, Love”. I was really torn about watching this movie at all, because, fundamentally, as I understand the plot, Liz Gilbert is a woman who got bored with her life and leaves her husband (after having cheated on him), in search of fulfillment that she doesn’t quite find. In real life, Liz took this emotional and physical journey, wrote about it, and it became a best-seller.
My question is… WHY? And so I’m watching this movie. To view this journey that she took. I’m very fond of “based on the book” movies. Especially if they’re true. I’m not into history, I don’t watch the military channel, but I do love the stories that are fundamentally based in truth. What is it about this woman’s story that makes her a best-seller?
20 minutes into the movie, and already Liz prayed to God for guidance, then immediately told her husband, “I don’t want to be married,” and is now having an affair with a man who admits he’s searching for God but instead found an eastern religion. Her husband, thankfully, is still fighting for this marriage. I want a man like that! Someone who will go to mediation and say “This is NOT the way.” Someone who says, “Divorce is not an option!”
Mind you, I realize at my age it’s going to be hard to find someone who hasn’t been previously married, or has kids, or both… but when we become WE, separation will never be an option. There are men on match.com who think “currently separated” means it’s okay to get a girlfriend. Seriously? So, let’s say I’m the kind of girl who takes that dive. Goes in deep. Falls hard. When does the proposal come? When he decides to finally, really leave her? WILL he? And even if he does, the fact that he’s advertising that he’s still married but looking… doesn’t that just scream biblical adultery to you? It does to me. So I say, no thanks. This ship will not sail.
Now Liz has left her husband, Stephen, and her rebound-boyfriend, David, and has landed in Italy. I love Italy. I have always loved anything Italian. Proportionately, I’m about only 0.3% Italian, but it’s the part I claim the most. The history, the culture, the romance, the ruins, the Mafia… I love it all. I’ve never been there ~ yet. But I will. I’ll get there. To Trevia Fountain. To the Vatican. To Naples. To sidewalk cafes and true cappuccinos. To Italian leather and the Almalfi coast. I feel like Sandra Bullock’s Lucy in While You Were Sleeping. Except I don’t have a passport ~ yet.
I say that word a lot. “Yet”. I love that word. It means, anything’s possible. It means, I can do it. It means, I have a goal. So I say, I am not published ~ yet. But when I am, I will pay off my small mortgage, send my daughter to college, and travel to Italy. I’m just not there ~ yet.
Liz has just had a wonderful Italian dinner with her friends. They call out names for places, people. Liz has admitted her “words” (daughter, wife, girlfriend) don’t fit her, that she’s not too good at filling those roles. Her friend Sofie tells her, “Maybe you’re a woman in search of a word.” And Liz agrees, she’s definitely searching for something.
Now Liz is in India. The noise and chaos is almost overwhelming, certainly antipodal to the calm, laid-back atmosphere of Italy. But then she finds some quiet. She’s trying to meditate and admits she still feels empty, alone… sad. Her idea of meditation is to “empty her thoughts”. God tells us, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). That doesn’t sound empty-headed to me. That sounds like focusing on something greater than my empty self, something bigger and better and completely unfathomable. There is nothing empty about God, or the life He has given me. There is only Greatness. Meditate on that!
Finally, Liz has arrived in Bali where she’s encouraged to have “a little love affair”, preceeded by a drunken binge. Thankfully, she’s sober enough to realize she shouldn’t go there, so she gracefully says good night instead. I admire her for keeping her boundaries, and thankfully the man she’s with was only interested in a midnight swim anyway… at least for starters. So he let her go without a fight. And she runs squarely into Felipe to begin the journey to Happily Ever After. But her fears overpower her and she allows her insecurities to keep her from falling in love.
I know that fear. But I will gladly experience it again, and conquer it. I will look it squarely in the eye, and not let it overpower me. I will not be afraid to live. I will not be afraid of love.
In the end, Liz runs back to Felipe, and announces her word is “attraversiamo”, which is Italian for “let’s cross over”.
I actually really enjoyed this movie far more than I thought it would. It didn’t sugarcoat the hurts that lonely people go through. It didn’t play up gratuitous elements, but rather incorporated them as yet another cause-and-effect of that loneliness. And it certainly demonstrated the search we all have experienced for something greater than our empty selves.
I can’t help but wonder, if Liz had given God the chance to answer her in the beginning, what different story she might be telling today?
And now I should find my word… any ideas? Anyone?