Monday, March 12, 2012
Memoirs to Movies: The Eat, Pray, Love Effect
Hi Meltingpot Readers,
Happy Monday. I know I'm only a year late on this one, but you all know that I watch movies when the DVD makes it to my local library. So, when I saw Eat, Pray, Love in the New Additions box last week, I snatched it up.
So, here's the deal. I had no real interest in seeing Eat, Pray, Love in the theater because, while I enjoyed the book immensely, I didn't see it translating to the big screen in any sort of powerful way. Plus the reviews were brutal. I mean, the story is all pretty much internal, so how do you show that? I plucked it up from the library because I wanted to see the gorgeous locals mentioned in the book.
As I suspected, that actual plot of the movie, pretty much follows the "plot" of the book. That is to say, a deeply unhappy woman who has made several mistakes in her personal life, decides to live in Italy, India and Bali to try to find "balance." Like I said, as a book, where we can read the internal dialogue of the author, Elizabeth Gilbert, the story is both inspiring and enlightening. As a movie, can you say snore? I could have put the movie on mute and just oogled the beautiful scenery. And, yes I count Javier Bardem as part of the beautiful scenery!
I loved the addition of Viola Davis as Gilbert's sister-in-law. Way to go color-blind casting! But of course, without altering the story tremendously, they couldn't have her in the film too much. I thought it was a mistake to ignore the fact that Gilbert was traveling in order to write a book. It made it seem that Gilbert just had oodles of money and free time to follow her bliss, which wasn't the point. That was a distraction for me.
I think a better idea for turning this book into a movie would have been a documentary travel special, visiting the locations in the book. Then we could have more insight and information about the ashram in India, the restaurants in Rome and the temples and beaches in Bali. My take away from the film as it was, was, 'when can I book a trip to Bali?' It looked so beautiful and peaceful.
So, dear readers, I was left with the depressing conclusion that memoirs make boring movies. Why is this depressing? Because the film rights to my memoir, Kinky Gazpacho, have been optioned and it looks like the film will soon be in the works. I was excited, but now I'm a little worried about the Eat, Pray, Love effect.
Can you put my mind at ease? Can you think of any memoirs turned movie that you really enjoyed? Please share. I'm totally listening.