Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love......with a dope-slap!

We saw Eat Pray Love at the weekend. I had only a vague idea of its storyline, but was pretty sure there'd be no car chases, bloody and noisy violence or 3D spectacles (of both kinds) to contend with. I was right. It's a gentle movie - rather reminiscent of some I recall from the late 1960s and early 70s, which delighted in transporting audiences to foreign lands with wonderful scenery and strange customs. In those days travel by air was only just seeping through for the masses, but we all eagerly looked forward to the day we could jet off to Italy, Spain, the USA and beyond. Those movies urged us on, whetting appetites.

Different in this movie, though, was the sense of frustration I felt with the leading character. Mostly I just wanted to slap her. I like Julia Roberts - I'm not blaming her for the character she was required to portray. We reckoned she was mis-cast in the part, chosen to sell tickets. Better alternatives - off the top of my head: Ashley Judd, Diane Lane? The movie's lead character, Liz Gilbert, had a successful career as a writer, a husband who apparently loved her - yet she was not satisfied. She came over, to me, as a spoiled rotten, dissatisfied, self absorbed individual whose favourite occupation was contemplating her own navel.

Liz decided to take a year off in order to travel and....what ? Find herself, her "spirituality" - an all-purpose term used cover a multitude of New Age fluff. She travelled to Italy, India and Bali, spending months in each place. She found good friends, developed pleasant relationships in each location yet, dammit, she was still not satisfied. Liz badly needed (to use one of my huband's son-in-law's expressions) "a dope slap up the side of the head".

I read that Oprah had endorsed the book Eat, Pray, Love from which the movie was adapted. That don't impress me much either.

The film's photography was beautiful though, and the Italian food in Rome had me recalling the smells, tastes and atmospheres I still remember from two vacations there, long ago. Julia Roberts' co-stars were well-cast, all good actors portraying likeable characters. Javier Bardem, in Bali, was quite something - the mental dope-slaps were coming thicker and faster as Liz turned to leave him!

The movie is an adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's book, a novel, but I now discover it was also her memoirs. Oops! Best not be dishing out too many dope-slaps here then. I'll surmise that, in her book, she exaggerated some aspects of the lead character for effect !

I decided to take a look at Ms Gilbert's natal chart. Born 18 July 1969 in Waterbury, Connecticut. 12 noon chart shown - no birth time available.

Sun and Mercury in Cancer, a possible stellium (cluster) in Libra (depending on Moon position.) Ah! My antipathy may have arisen for astrological reasons. I don't often get on well with either Cancer-type or Libra-type people, in spite of the fact that I have Cancer rising natally, and an Airy Sun which ought to go better with Libra than it does.

Neptune(planet of creativity) in Scorpio is in harmonious trine to Sun/Mercury; and with Venus in Gemini and Moon in Virgo both ruled by communications planet Mercury - writing was always going to be on Ms Gilbert's agenda.

Where is her propensity for navel-gazing though. Navel-gazing is something I'll never understand, by the way, so might have difficulty detecting in a chart. It'll be related to the Moon for sure (pity we don't have a birth time). Moon would have had to be between between 4 and 16 degrees of Virgo as she was born. I'd guess it lay at the earlier end of the span. That would link Moon (inner self) to the conjunction of Jupiter (excess & travel) and Uranus (eccentricity). So that'd boil down to: Inner self subjected to excessive and eccentric observation, a fondness for travel, and - remembering Moon is in Virgo, excessive critical analysis.


R J Adams said...

I can think of lots of people who would benefit from "a dope slap up the side of the head".


Astrology Unboxed said...

Hi Twilight:

I hear about the book. I remember reading Eat, Pray, Love when it was at the height of it's success and berating myself for not getting what the fuss was about. Except maybe for the part of having the possibility of traveling for a year in India, Bali and Italy.
I want to see the movie for the locations, but probably will wait until it is on Netflix.
Since then I have reviewed somewhat my opinion of Ms. Gilbert through her talk about Creativity at the 2009 TED Conference (a very interesting reflection on our relationship with creativity) and her new book "Committed".
This new book is a "sequel" of Eat,Pray, Love and her marriage to her Brazilian boyfriend.
I liked this book much better as it resonates with my own views on marriage. I wrote about it in my blog as a perfect example of what Saturn in Libra is asking from us as far as relationships are concerned. (
When I was writing my article I too had a look at her chart and I agree with your assessment of "inner self subjected to excessive and eccentric observation", I do believe it is a reflection of the Saturn in Taurus who is so hang up on security and stability to the point that analyzing and observing is a way for her to deal with the Saturnine anxiety. Something very evident in her new book.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~~ LOL - don't get me started! ;-)

Twilight said...

Astrology Unboxed ~~ hi Fabienne ~
Thanks for the link to your post - it's fascinating!

When I started my post I had no idea that the novel the movie is based on was in fact... fact(ish), and not pure fiction. I felt a bit embarrassed by my drafted remarks, but decided to let them go.

Your piece about her 2nd book serves to underline, for me, my initial view of her personality. I agree with you on the astrological factors involved.

I was in a very similar position with regard to marriage myself, though didn't make as much fuss about it as Ms Gilbert in her 2nd book.

I'd had a 33-year unmarried relationship which ended with the death of the other. I then met my current husband - I in the UK he in the USA. We had to marry to be able to live together in the USA, where he has a close family. Ideally I'd rather have remained together but without the "piece of paper". We married in the UK - a very simple affair, no guests, just us, car driver and photographer as witnesses. I didn't have to question myself much on this, because it was the only way to be together in the circumstances, and as the saying goes "you can't fight City Hall".

The fact that Ms Gilbert has been able to write 2 successful books on her experiences is testament to her skills as a writer, for which I applaud her. :-)

anyjazz said...

I enjoyed the movie in spite of the struggle to see Julia Roberts portraying a morally and spiritually confused author. Perhaps she is a victim of type-casting.

I had trouble believing the basic motivation of the main character too. A successful author, capable of self-examination enough to write wrenching accounts of her own life, just doesn’t seem the confused type that would have to spend a year trying to orient herself in her own world. I think I might have believed it more if the character had just decided to go off for a year and enjoy her self; do things that would broaden her life experience with no explanations necessary.

But then, I dress in the dark and consider showers an annual event.

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~~~ I don't see her as type-cast though. I connect her (Julia)with outgoing, straight-ahead happy types, non-navel-gaving. She was really cast against type in my opinion. She's good, but not that good of an actor to be able to make the transition, and ended up confusing the audience - well, you and me anyway.

I agree with the rest of your comment.

By the way, re your (documented) showering habits - a bit of navel-gazing would be wise, to offer an opportunity to extract the lint and.....let's leave it at that. ;-)

Wisewebwoman said...

I couldn't get through what I thought was a totally self-indulgent book, T.
And am not keen, as a result, to see the movie unless in the remainder bin (the dvd not me, lol).
I disagree on your assessment of Julia Roberts CV, I thought she was amazing in Erin Brokavich and Mystic Pizza which are the only 2 to come to mind immediatly.

Wisewebwoman said...

Spell much, WWW?

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~~ Your view of the book makes me feel better - I still felt a wee bit guilty about my somewhat judgmental post. ;-)

Yes, well - I'm probably still hooked on Julia's performance in "Pretty Woman" WWW. I enjoyed that movie a lot and have seen it several times. Didn't see Mystic Pizza, and if I saw "Ellen B......"
I've already forgotten how she fared in it. I think it was something about fighting for the environment.

So you could well be correct, and I have her wrongly categorised, overall. :-)