Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love - Movie Review

Every now and then a movie comes along that just wows you with how good it is. This is NOT that movie. In fact, it sort of wowed me with how horrible it is. Eat, Pray, Love is bad in many ways. The movie is just outright too long. But the acting is well done. If you watch movies just for the acting this one is good. But if you think what the movie is communicating is important, then this movie ought to make you sick. What worries me is that not everyone will see this movie for what it is . . . bad advice and a recipe for despair.

Basically the plot is this. Julia Roberts (I don't even remember the character's name) gets divorced from a marriage she was miserable in. According to the movie because she lost herself, thus, she lost her happiness. Despite a new younger boyfriend, she cannot find happiness. So she breaks up with him. That part of the movie is only about a half hour. The fast part. She then goes to Rome, India, Bali. Each city represents a part of her healing and moving on with her life. Rome is learning that ruin is an important part of change. India is about forgiving yourself. Bali is about finding your own balance, and there the new love is introduced, and we learn that sometimes losing your balance in love is part of finding your balance in life. That is a quote. The movie is not all that subtle. It hits you over the head with most of this stuff. Because this movie is meant to be preachy. Which is why it is so upsetting. I can see a lot of people leaving this movie and feeling moved or thinking it profound. It is not.

The one thing that I think the movie did show that is actually true is the destruction of sin. The divorce leaves people devastated. It was a sinful divorce. No adultery, no wife beating, nothing like that. In fact, he fights the divorce. It wrecks her, and him. You meet some others who are similarly wrecked by sin. Everything else in the movie is a horrible lie.

First, ruin is not necessarily a good thing. Sometimes ruin is just ruin. She writes a profound email in Rome about how this one site (burial site of Augustus) was ruined when Rome was sacked, and then it was all these other things, but each time it was destroyed. She found hope in it because the ruin led to adaptability and conforming. In other words the building was ruined many times, no longer used for its original purpose, and now conformed to the world around it, until the world around it would ruin it again. Really, that is not a good message. Ruin is ruin. What is needed in not to be conformed, but to be transformed by the power of Christ. That is exactly what the character in this movie needed, but the movie wanted to push a falsehood about man redeeming himself by loving himself.

Second, forgiving yourself is a joke. They constantly present it as hard work in this movie. But, in the end, she is able to forgive herself for destroying the life of her former husband. She never actually asks for his forgiveness. Never. There is no concept of actual guilt, or even the idea of harming others means dealing with others. You meet a few other souls there in India who did horrible things to other people, even their own children, but they are now trying to forgive themselves. No reconciliation, no approaching other people, no confessing sin to those who were sinned against. None of it. This is not hard work. That is taking the easy way out. And they are not forgiving themselves. Rather they are just learning how to live with their guilt. To bury the truth so they can go on. This part of the movie actually made me angry, and it was surely not meant to do that.

Third, the balance part was equally weird. Balance was achieved by putting love of self at the center. Choosing to be happy. As one person put it in the movie, "Balance is not letting anyone else love you less than you love yourself." That is just stupidity. It is also the opposite of what Christ teaches us about the self. It is not let others love me as I love myself. No it is love your neighbor as you love yourself, which by the way comes after love the Lord your God, with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Anyway, I just had to write this before I could calm down from the movie. This movie is all about the philosophy in it, and thus this movie deserves a lot of scorn.


Storitz said...

Hey Lee - check out this Eat Pray Love spoof we did:

Feel free to post.

Anonymous said...

You have obviously never met someone who didn't love themselves, someone who had deep self-loathing and self-hate. I hope you never meet someone like this because I fear what you would say to them. You'd probably just kick them while they're down. Liz Gilbert refused to be a victim, and you can't blame her for finding a way out, finding hope and love again. You cannot love your neighbor as yourself if do not even love yourself. There simply IS NO LOVE to be had.