Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love

This past weekend I went to see the film Eat, Pray, Love. This is not your typical "Chick Flick" in that many of the feelings and situations are not reserved for women alone. Our main character feels lost in her life. The things that she has pursued hold no meaning for her, she feels out of touch spiritually, and feels that her relationships are a compromise at best. Our character decides to take a year to "find herself" and visit Italy, India, and Bali. Each location that our character visits reflects key points of the title:

One would think that going to Italy, all the character would do is eat. Whereas eating was a main part of this portion of the journey— it is the experience of eating that needed to be examined. How often do we just mindlessly eat and never bother to enjoy what we are eating, or enjoy those to whom we are sharing a meal with. The scene that I enjoyed a lot was the one where the main character had a Thanksgiving meal on her last night together with all of her new found friends. At one point, she asks someone how long the turkey had to go to which they replied that they had not even thawed it yet. We later find a scene where all of the friends are crashed out on the chairs and couches (much like you would find after a heavy meal) and an alarm goes off. Our character then gets up and goes to the oven where we find the turkey is now done. They finish the scene carving the turkey and enjoying their final meal together.
We open this part of the journey with our main character in a taxi traveling through a busy street scene in India. The entire scene is chaotic and jumbled with many things happening at the same time. Once our character arrives at the spiritual camp, she finds that the guru is not there but rather in New York where she came from. She is shown the camp and where she can go to meditate. During her attempts at meditating she becomes frustrated and unable to meditate at all. She meets a man from Texas who seems to be more of a spiritual leader than the guru she came to see. He appears cross and rude— which may be the kind of leading that she needs. After the man from Texas leaves the camp, our character is asked to be a guide for several new devotees just arriving. She is told that she cannot meditate, but rather should watch over the new devotees as they are meditating. This reminds me of the portion of the movie Woodstock, where the withdrawal patient is then shown another person coming into the clinic and is told: "they were just like you three hours ago. You are now the doctor and they are now your patient, get to work". It is at this point where she finally is enlightened and understands the meaning of her spiritual journey.
This is the theme of the movie that seems to come full circle. Whereas our main character files for divorce in the beginning of the movie and has a brief affair with another man before heading on her journey— there appear to be no men in her life in the first two portions of her journey. In the beginning of the movie she is in Bali interviewing a medicine man. His advice to her during that initial interview is what compels her on her journey and brings her back to the medicine man on its final leg. Once back in Bali, the medicine man tells her to try and maintain balance between all of the lessons she has learned so far. To not stray too far spiritually, and not to stray too far in the enjoyment of life. She meets a man in Bali and struggles between trying to maintain balance between the man she has fallen in love with and her lessons she has vowed to continue to practice. She breaks off the relationship for fear that she has dedicated herself too much to the relationship and has neglected the other lessons she has struggled to find over the past year of her journey. On her final consultation with the medicine man he indicates that it is OK to lose yourself in love since that is the glue that holds all the other lessons together. She reconciles with the man she fell in love with and we find ourselves coming full circle as well as starting a new beginning.

The movie is well worth going to see because many of us experience the same doubts and fears regarding our place in the world and how we relate not only to the world around us, but those people that we have encountered along our own journey in life.

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