This blog usually is not a place to find movie reviews, but I feel compelled to write about the new Julia Roberts flick, "Eat Pray Love."
I anticipated this film based on its previews to be a telling of triumphant self-discovery that leads to some profound truth that would be inspiring (at least somewhat) to its viewers. I know that expecting all of that out of any film was probably quite a lofty goal, but if I couldn't get that from the film, I was at least hoping for a "feel-good" movie.
However, I walked away feeling disappointed and wanting. The sad thing is that I think this film actually was quite insightful to a value system which has overtaken modern society. Julia's character at the beginning of the film chooses to leave her marriage because she is unhappy. Her husband, other then being a little flaky with his career, is a good guy who is very committed and very much in love with her. Julia's character, however, decides to divorce him and spend a year "finding herself" by travelling around the globe. I won't go into tremendous detail about her travels, only to say that she spends time meeting people, eating food, and having relationships - ending up with a guy she meets in Bali.
The film provides no explanation for how Julia's life became so unsatisfying to her nor do we really understand what truths she has discovered that help her find meaning. She spends the year trying to forgive herself for leaving her husband (very little time is spent of her showing any remorse for her decision to walk away in the first place or that she understands the impact the divorce has had on his life) and finding 'meaning' - though we never really understand what that is.
The message of the film is - do whatever you want as long as it makes you feel good. There is no right or wrong, just your individual happiness in life and that is all that matters. This was further emphasized with her 'discovery' while in India where she says she learned that "God is within me, as me."
This all sounds well and good and profound, but is actually far from that. If we should all do whatever we like as long as it makes us feel good, then we don't consider the people around us (like in the film, Julia's husband). If God is within us, as us, then that removes the fact that there is actually a God to whom we are accountable. This philosophy removes personal responsibility and any yardstick for what is right and wrong. It may seem freeing, but in the end, it is only temporary. Without absolute truth, there is no fulfillment, no betterment of self towards an end, no comprehension of what is 'good' and what we should be striving to become.
For all we know, Julia's character will spend some time with the guy she met in Bali and then walk away a few years later. Hey - whatever makes you feel good.
If we are here for only our own personal enjoyment of life and that is coupled with no true belief in a Supreme Being, then relationships will never last, commitments to family and children will never be kept. 'Good' becomes defined at the individual level, each out solely for their own enjoyment. True principles are removed from society and we find ourselves on one short-term pleasure-seeking wave after another that we deem as happiness. We find that happiness to be disappointing and empty, so we move on to the next thing, and so it goes on.
This country was founded on Christian values and those values get lost in a film like this and unfortunately in our society today as well. There is such thing as a right and wrong, there is such thing as an absolute truth. Julia Roberts is a talented actress (I have always been a fan), but the film left me wanting ... and wishing that it wasn't so indicative of how so many these days believe life should be lived.