"Eat Pray Love" and Greatness

I saw the movie Eat Pray Love yesterday. In general, it was good, though I am not sure about the emphasis on making sure that she is paired up with someone by the end. I found the movie affirming up until that point. I guess that I just have problems with the "romantic goal." I prefer something like Under the Tuscan Sun, a film that allows romance to enter the picture but ends much more positively and realistically than the fairytale that is Eat Pray Love. The reality is this: 99 % of the women out there don’t have the means to travel and live around the world for a year in order to find themselves; a gorgeous, emotional Brazilian (actually, I don't think that he is from Brazil) isn’t going to run us off the road in Bali (I got sick of the amount of crying in this movie, by the way); and, I don’t think that I need to travel to India to find spiritual fulfillment. In many ways, the title character has moments when she is such a cliché. Her experiences in Italy were the most meaningful to me--I love pasta. As my friend (who went with me) said, the transitions in the movie were too abrupt to be believable. Again, I am not saying that I hated the movie. I did like and enjoy it. But there were problems that just bug me...and I think it has more to do with our society than the film.

And that brings me to my second point: I crave greatness. I don’t need to take a year off in my life to realize that about myself. I need greatness. Throughout my life, I have sought out people who have greatness and I attach myself to them so that I can absorb everything that I can from them. Yes, it sounds parasitic…and maybe it is. But, the thing is, I need that. It is more important to me than food or sex or anything. I can’t get enough of it. It is the reason I read and latch on to wonderful movies, watching them over and over again. At the end of the day, it is all that I want. I seek it out in my personal relationships and my professional life and my private interests. Maybe it sounds terrible (though I don’t really care), but I make it a point to try to only spend time with people who fulfill me in that way. I abhor and detest the mundane or the degraded. Those who don’t try to think disgust me because they represent such waste. I, myself, am not greatness…but I appreciate greatness and what greatness gives to me—and, I especially appreciate what happens to my mind when I encounter greatness. Greatness in others is not necessarily a product of higher education—in fact, it usually isn’t. It is just something that you find sometimes. It is the light that draws me. To me, it is what Jesus meant when he said (or the words attributed to him, say) that we have "the light of the world" within us--or, actually, that we ARE "the light of the world." It is true.

So, here is my problem with Eat Pray Love and movies in general: where is the depth? The greatness? It became a cliché the same way that all movies are clichés now. Where are the movies like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (yes, I know that I can’t watch it because it freaks me out…the reason is that it is greatness to the extreme and I can only take small doses) or The Women (not the new one) or books like Absalom, Absalom! or Jude the Obscure or Wuthering Heights (yes, I know not everyone would agree with me about my preferences/examples, but you get the picture, nevertheless). I am so sick of our mediocre standards. I may not be capable of creating greatness myself, but I know it when I see it and I am exhausted with the lauding of supposed "talent" in this country. As my friend Kelly says, we pluck our celebrities off the street, for the most part. Hollywood trashes them up and strips them of their clothes and dignity for the sake of making a buck. Where are the real actresses? The real actors? We used to have them. England has them now, but they are adopting the same system. Rather than demanding that their actors go to school and be well read, they are turning to the easier American system. So, here we go again, losing what makes us great. I am in need of a revival, a renaissance of talent in film and literature. I know that we have some good people out there, but they are being drowned out by the lackluster flavors of the month. It makes me sick. Are we capable of anything great today?


Hanners said…
This is why I pretty much only watch British TV and movies!
Susie said…
I hear you, Hannah! Me, too!

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