Recent release Eat, Pray, Love is a travel movie that’s been capturing attention throughout the USA and bringing international travel back into the spotlight. Based on the New York Times best-seller by Elizabeth Gilbert, the film stars Julia Roberts as a recent divorcee who takes up a life of travel in an effort to put her past behind her and gain a new understanding of life.
It’s a film that’s bringing a forgotten subject – long-term international travel – back into the spotlight and into the realm of possibility. But alongside the film’s encouraging tone and realistic portrayal of travel is a theme that many critics find slightly offensive – the idea that the movie’s premise is able to be lived out by any recently divorced woman.
There’s little doubt that the journey portrayed in Eat, Pray, Love is likely to have been an expensive one – Roberts’ character visits Italy, India, and Indonesia on her way to discovering happiness. But claiming that the movie’s premise is offensive because of its potential expense isn’t a thought that is sitting well with the film’s supporters, particularly those that have found travel therapeutic.
The reality of long-term travel is slightly different from what’s portrayed in Eat, Pray, Love, as most filmgoers would expect. There’s more stress, more indecision, and significantly more expenses than the film reveals, but it is a film. Suspension of disbelief needn’t fail to apply when a subject appears that is within the realms of possibility – it occasionally needs to appear more than ever.
Eat, Pray, Love is an entertaining look at long-term travel as a form of therapy. It’s far from the grit-filled travel movie many would appreciate, although it’s also quite an inspiring artistic piece. It your travel plans are moving a little too slowly, let it act as a shot of caffeine for your long-term holiday or sabbatical, prompting you to invest more time in planning and much more money in travel itself.