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You Can’t “Eat, Pray, Love” But…

June 17, 2012

Generally, I hate ellipses at the end of titles. But I felt like it today, so it stands.

I have a lot of problems with the film/book Eat, Pray, Love. I have never actually read the book so I’m drawing everything here straight from the movie with the wonderful actor Julia Roberts. Aside from the pervasive neocolonialism throughout, the ending serves to reinforce the very thing that it seems to be attempting to break down half the time: that Julia Roberts’ character doesn’t need to be in love/out of love/with someone in order to be happy.

All of these things aside however, every time I somehow seem to find myself viewing this film I’m struck by my favorite scene. Her character is in Italy and is in her flat making herself a meal contemplating the art of being alone. I thought a little more today about why I love this scene oh-so-much (and similar ones from the film Chocolat).

It’s that all scenes such as these, where a character is calmly making food to some great music in a montage, remind me of an intentionality that I miss often in my own life. I firmly am against the idea that you have to go abroad in order to get this back into your life and that’s another one of the problems I have with the movie. But there is something to be said for going abroad in order to know what that feeling feels like.

The one where you know the person next to you on the street has lived there all their lives and may not think twice about the building you’re looking at or food you’re consuming. But you? You are in a strange sort of heaven just staring at a piece of architecture or eating a bowl of spaghetti (a la Roberts in the film). And it really is all about perspective I think. Roberts’ character could have made that pasta in her home in NYC and loved it all the same and found that same feeling in eating it, but she needed that perspective.

And there’s no good reason to think that in order to get that in your life you have to go out of the country and get 49 passport stamps to find it. (For those of you thinking I have some weird obsession with this film and memorized that, I promise I don’t, I just finished watching it again is all).


I generally disapprove of people posting photos of food they make to Facebook and the like but I’m too proud of my perfectly boiled egg to not show you.

And this is where it kills me that I hate the movie so much and yet every time it seems to achieve its’ end goal in my watching it. Because I stood up before the credits had rolled, turned off my freaking television and went into my kitchen. And made some food. In the scene in Italy, Roberts makes a hard-boiled egg that makes you want to never eat anything else in your entire life. So why not?

I had to google how to make a hard-boiled egg. I’m 22 years old and I didn’t know how to hard boil an egg. I remedied this today. And had an amazing lunch. And was reminded that there’s no reason you can’t bring the “abroad experience” that everyone is so fond of into your own home and your own life. All we have to do is bring some intentionality back into our world (wherever it may be).

P.S.- You might think this post has nothing to do with feminism and think I’m going off into the deep-end of blog-diary writing. Not the case! Intentionality is the lesson of this post and I’m convinced that if everyone lived with a little more intentionality the world would be a kinder, happier, more splendid place to live. Because when you live with intention, you remember that the person next to you is a person. And doing that is the first step to equality for everyone.

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