Monday, August 16, 2010

The Monday Review - a Movie and a Book

A few months ago I noticed that Julia Roberts was going to be on Oprah and being a lover of all things Julia Roberts, I set the DVR to record the show. As it turns out, this particular show was about Julia’s (yes, we’re on a first name basis) upcoming movie, Eat, Pray, Love, based on the book written by Elizabeth Gilbert.

I had seen mention of this book on some blogs I read and had probably seen it in a bookstore or two, but never thought to purchase it; but, after the Oprah episode (Elizabeth Gilbert was on the show too) I went online and bought the book to read before the movie came out. Unfortunately I haven’t been in much of a reading mood over the past few months – sometimes I get in a funk like this – and didn’t pick the book up until a couple of weeks ago. I don’t know about you, but I am a strong believer that everything in life happens for a reason; each experience we have helps us to grow into the person we are meant to be. So, I think it was meant to be that I didn’t read this book until the end of my relationship with Tony. I don’t think I would have appreciated it as much if I had read it any sooner.

All I knew about the book was that the author took a trip to three countries in the period of a year and I thought, “Well, that’s cool, wonder why it sold so many copies.” Well, my friends, I now know. I’m sure every woman (and maybe some men) who has ever experienced a heartbreak can relate to Gilbert’s memoir. Gilbert took her trip around the globe after a nasty divorce to help her heal from all the emotional instability and insanity in her life. Obviously the end of my relationship was neither a divorce nor nasty, but it doesn’t make the heartache any less in my opinion because when you truly love someone and it doesn’t work out then the sadness is going to be more than you can handle some days; you're not going to recover overnight.

I tried to finish the book before the movie came out and came shy of about 100 pages in completing my goal. I finished the book on Sunday night after I saw the movie Friday with my friends, Jackie, Kendra and Sabrina. As mentioned, I found the book so relatable. There were actual phrases in the book that I have recently said myself or advice given to Gilbert that has also been given to me. I’m not sure I’ve related to a book in such a way in quite some time. It’s remarkable really how things work out. Clearly it was not meant for me to read this book until I needed it; or at least that’s how I feel.

Now, I usually rant and rave in my movie reviews when I’ve seen a movie based on a book. Typically the movie doesn’t even compare to the literary work. This movie, however, was a rarity in that it followed the book quite closely. There were a few liberties taken with the script, but nothing I don’t think fans of the book can’t live with. I think the main reason the film was so similar to the book was because Gilbert contributed to the writing of the script, which I think is admirable because a lot of times (hello, Percy Jackson) the author doesn’t do this and the film becomes a giant mess and nothing like the book, which is disappointing to the literary audience.

For those of you who have read the book, I think you will find the film is quite good. Although I’m a big fan of Julia Roberts’, I had a hard time picturing her as Gilbert; instead of her becoming Gilbert on screen, it was more like oh there’s Julia Roberts; maybe because Julia (at age 42) is a few years older than Gilbert was when she went on this journey (she was 34/35). It just seems to me like it might have been better to have an unknown play Gilbert rather than a big movie star that everyone is familiar with. Sometimes it’s hard to get past the actor and into the character – or maybe that’s just me. At any rate, overall, I thought the film was great. Of course, in my mind it was a lot lovelier but that’s because I have a crazy, vivid imagination and often get lost in books when I’m reading. I’m not so sure everyone else is like that.

So, to sum things up, if you’re looking for something to read, this book was really good and a work of non-fiction, which is sometimes hard to find. The movie was good as well and also quite enjoyable. In the ending of both, Gilbert’s heart heals and she finds love again, which is nice to know that it happens in real life, not just on the movie screen.


Erika said...

Thanks for posting a review....I'll put this one on my "to see" list :)

Mary McLaughlin said...

I, too, loved the book! Am about to start reading it again. I haven't seen the movie and I'm not sure I want to because I loved the book so much. I agree with your comment about having an "unknown" play the lead. Sometimes it is hard to get past the this case, the lovely Julia! (I'm on a first-name basis also!)

Thanks for the review. I might have to go see it now.