Monday, December 27, 2010

That College-Dream Life

24 hours ago I was angry at having a Godot, but then I decided to watch Eat Pray Love. I wanted something to relax to that was a step above the typical romantic comedy, and this movie fulfilled this requirement by about a hair.

I really despise Kate Chopin's The Awakening. This means that I despise selfish lead females who destroy their marriages and families and those who depend of them in search of something bigger and better. Elizabeth Gilbert doesn't want to listen to her husband talk about going back to school for a degree in education, and her solution to this is divorce, followed by a soul-searching global trip? Please.

It doesn't help that I'm one of the few people in the United States who is not a Julia Roberts fan or admirer, but in any case this film was an exercise in self-indulgence and fantasy. In Italy, the main character eats a napoleon for breakfast, then proceeds to demonstrate poor pasta-eating table manners. In India, she finally works up the nerve to actually end things with the James Franco character, because she was too self-absorbed to do it before she climbed into the taxi in New York. In Bali, she disregards her hosts' express wishes and the importance of preserving cultural relics by photocopying a manuscript. Her overnight mastery of Italian was too much to take, as was her seamless adaptation to Indian culture. Seriously, she probably had more of a culture shock when she realized how her baths in Italy would be drawn.

The film acts as if Liz learns a lot and becomes a completely new person, but in fact that is not altogether clear. Roberts' voiceovers tell the viewers that her character has learned a lot, but there is little to actually demonstrate that. Riding off into the sunset because a medicine man tells her about balance? Come on. All the audience learns is that Liz is a self-important feminist who is always impatient for results, just like the typical modern American but with a little extra money.

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