Monday, August 16, 2010

Playing By My Own Rules

I went to see Eat Pray Love this weekend. I did not read the reviews ahead of time. Mostly because I rarely agree with the movie critics. Plus in the case of this movie I knew better. I had read the book. No matter how brilliant an adaptation it might be, this is not the subject matter that those who review would take kindly to. It's about a spiritual quest, it's about pausing, it's about looking within. It is not The Expendables.

So as the movie and the book that birthed it suggest, I play by my own rules. I bought my ticket and took my mother. I was more worried about whether she would like it than me. I loved the story. Elizabeth Gilbert inspires me, not just as an author but as a woman. But Mom, who has always been a big movie buff, has changed tastes as she grows older. I'm never quite sure anymore what she will like, but I know she is a big Julia Roberts fan. The real test would be whether or not she stayed awake.

I read the reviews before I sat down to write this blog. I will pause here for a moment to mention  I was hard pressed to find one not written by a man. Which might explain the overall nature of them. This is a movie about a woman's inner journey, aimed to reach women who might relate to Liz's internal struggles. The film like the book is not your typical three act structure with a beginning, middle and end but a journey sprinkled with moments of laughter, tears and a lot of love.  I suppose if I was forced to sit through The Expendables because I was assigned to review it I would have great difficulty reminding myself  that I am not the target audience for all that blood and violence.

But I digress. The reviews were written to dissuade you from plunking down your thirteen bucks for a ticket. How could a  woman who seemed to have so much of what convention tells us we should want not be fulfilled? How could she throw away a marriage, and go off on a journey of self exploration? Isn't it narcissistic to embark on all that self examination?
Blah. Blah. Blah.
(NOTE:As a woman who has chosen her own unconventional path, I can tell you it happens. I can also tell you a lot of people do not understand.)

But let's face it. No movie that is  a two hour diversion into beautiful cinematography with a well chosen cast that makes you think, makes you question, makes you laugh and makes you cry with no overt sex scenes and no violence is going to get great reviews. That is  the culture we live in and no doubt why The Expendables took in more money this weekend than Eat Pray Love.

Eat Pray Love is not a movie for everyone. Nor is the book (although it continues to sit high and pretty on The New York Times bestseller list).

But then neither is taking a risk for everyone or  sitting still long enough to pay attention to the voice inside of us and  listening to that voice and allowing it to lead  instead of the critics.

Mom stayed awake. She really enjoyed the movie. Me too.  She also insisted on Italian food afterwards.

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