I’ve not read the book, yet I’m rather familiar with Elizabeth Gilbert’s story, thanks to an episode on Oprah where she appeared together with ‘Richard from Texas’.
I tried to read the book once but it did not click. An American woman in an unhappy marriage leaves her husband without any explanation to travel the world to find herself. Men would deem her as suffering from long term PMS, or having a mid-life crisis, something we Asian women would just have to deal with without taking off to the world. I find her, the book and the movie rather narcissistic.
Before Liz departs for her travel, she laments as she packs her stuff in a warehouse that her life fits into this 12ft room (or something similar.) I saw a similar scene in a Korean drama where the woman exclaims how pathetic she is that after living for 45 years, all she has accumulated in her life is contained in this small bag (Heart of Nineteen – Thumb Lady).
Liz first travels to Italy where she learns a language and binges on Italian food, making friends along the way who teach her to enjoy life – ‘American knows entertainment but not enjoyment.’ She develops a ‘muffin top’ (love handles) and buys new jeans to accomodate her expanding waistline.
After four months there, she goes to India to a meditation centre where she meets her ‘soulmate’ Richard from Texas. Through Richard, she learns meditation and about forgiving herself for leaving her husband.
Lastly, she goes to Bali and reunites with ‘Medicine Man’ and found her new love.
Julia Roberts gives a credible performance of Liz Gilbert in the way Liz looks and speaks with earnest conviction, but her face also looks gaunt at times.
The movie has a happy ending but I left the theatre worried for Liz. She says to have an open mind and everyone is a teacher to her. But I fear without the advice of these teachers, she may not know what to do in future, as she depends too much on the words of others instead of knowing what she wants in life.