I was both delighted and scared when I learned they were turning Elizabeth Gilbert's bestselling travel memoir Eat Pray Love into a feature-length film. I was one of the gajillion people who read the book—and not because Oprah liked it, but because I love the travel narrative genre. I've happily armchair traveled to many a dreamy locale through the pages of such reads. And while I liked EPL well enough, especially the "eat" section, I didn't find it that much better than other offerings of its kind to warrant all the hoopla.
Still, a chance to vicariously journey to Italy, India, and Indonesia for a feast of rich words, foods, and scenery on the big screen? Bring it.
My fears about turning this into a movie came mostly with the "pray" parts. That section of the book left me a bit cold. As a Christ-follower, I couldn't get into Gilbert's ashram-inspired, mantra-drenched search for the god within. As a rational person I had a hard time getting into her literal tree-hugging moment out in some Indian jungle. But then, one person's spiritual experiences often don't translate well to others. You know when you're having a God-moment, and inviting someone else to glimpse or understand it is difficult if not profane.
So how much harder is that task without all of Gilbert's thoughtfully crafted prose? With literal images instead of the wonder of each reader's imagination? How do you capture a spiritual pilgrim's faltering steps toward faith? Apparently the answer, at least for the writers/directors of Eat Pray Love, is you don't. We see Julia Roberts cross-legged and om-ing in a dingy ashram and some lovely pastoral locations, but we never really get a sense of her inner journey to peace and faith and joy.
But I'm getting ahead ...1
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Eat Pray Love
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