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I went to see Eat Pray Love at the cinema the other day, ordinarily I would have just gone to see it because my friends were going and it’s a blockbuster movie. But this time the movie had a rather different meaning to me because I had been in Bali whilst it was being filmed. I didn’t see any scenes being shot but I did hear all the hype and I actually went along to the extras casting. I was curious when I went to see the film how they would portray Ketut Liyer and Bali as a destination.
I left the cinema not really knowing what to make of Eat Pray Love, I’ve never read the book so I don’t have anything to compare it to. In many ways I saw a lot of myself in Elizabeth Gilbert’s character, that feeling that you need to escape and do something to figure out what you want. “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it” is one of Elizabeth Gilbert’s quotes from Eat Pray Love. I suppose, when it boils down to it, if I’m going to get all psychological, I travel to find my happiness.
There were a few things that went through my mind sat in the cinema though- two of which were “if only everyone had the money to just up and leave like that” and “I wonder if Elizabeth Gilbert is as beautiful as Julia Roberts?”
The Italy part bored me a little, although I did get a little hungry watching all the food she eats, and I do admire the Italians and the way they live for pleasure. On to India, and the only part in the movie when I shed a tear at the old man as he explains his reasons for praying to the guru. I also strongly believe in signs…Elizabeth sees her actor boyfriend’s love of the guru as a sign she should go to India to pray and I have done the same on my travels. I haven’t gone on a spiritual mission to India but I do tend to see everything that happens in my life, good or bad, as a signpost to where I should go and what I should do next. I don’t think I’ve ever travelled with a plan and I certainly follow the signpost rule.
So let’s get on to Ketut Liyer…the actor certainly portrayed his sense of humour and the way he speaks very very well. It wasn’t surprising that he doesn’t remember Liz when she arrives back the second time as, sadly, having met him, he treats his visitors like dollar signs coming to listen to his memorised speech. They don’t (and why should they?) touch on the fact that Ketut is in fact rather much of a con, but then again they’re not suggesting he’s a wonderful, wise medicine man either.
When I met Ketut I was in fact looking for something, some words that would make me feel healed. If you look in the photo above you can see my motorbike scars after my scooter accident in Bingin, down in the south of Bali. My meeting with Ketut definitely didn’t heal me. Instead I sat on his porch and listened to a wonderfully rehearsed recital as he read my palm and neck, only to hear him repeat it to the lady after me. So as I watched the scenes in Eat Pray Love, I couldn’t help but let out a little chuckle.
I recognised every location in Bali as if I were there yesterday, and it did make me miss it a little bit. Funnily Ketut mentions that everyone finds love in Bali and I was told this by everyone I met during the 7 months I lived there. I however did not.
Overall the movie contained, for me, some brilliant quotes. The one I always love is the catholic joke about a man who spent his whole life going to a church every day and prayed to the statue of a great saint begging “please, please, please, let me win the lottery.” Finally the exasperated statue comes to life and looks down at the begging man and says “my son, please, please, please, buy a ticket.” And it’s true, buy the ticket and maybe your life will change.
I felt the movie ended rather abruptly and didn’t deal with what happened after her trip, but then it wouldn’t be a hollywood ending. I also thought it didn’t really have much of a plotline or a story- she went to Italy to eat, India to Pray and Bali to find love. Like Ronseal in those adverts, it does pretty much what it says on the tin with no surprises.