Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman. There’s all that mucking about with howling at the moon once a month, either unsupported or badly scorched boobs, the constant struggle to be heard within an oppresive patriarchal society, and to quote Bernard Black, oh, the dancing!
But then again, sometimes it’s hard to be a thunderously self-obsessed, overpriveleged jackanape as well. So you’ve really got to feel for poor old Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love, drowning prettily in an exotic blend of both of these maladies. My goodness, it’s a wonder she can move her puny bones under the weight of her first world problems. So, is it worth 140 minutes of our time watching her fret and eat and ponder and pray and laugh and love?
Seriously? Eat Pray Love? Well, let us put it this way. Puke Scream Die.
The based-on-a-true story is this: Liz Gilbert, woman, jackanape, inexplicably successful godawful writer of tortured “love is a drug” metaphors and broadsheet travel tosspieces, is dissatisfied with her life. Sure, she’s got the big house and the amazing career, but her husband wants to better himself, the selfish bastard, and there’s so many places in the world she wants to go (you know, apart from all the places she’s already been paid to go to in no small amount of luxury). Plus, it’s raining and her hardwood floors make her look fat.
So she does what all of us would do when battered with such outrageous misfortune; tries to summon God like He’s her own personal concierge to rub her feet and tell her she’s wonderful. And when that doesn’t work, God presumably being too busy not existing/helping American popstars write their albums, she dumps her blameless husband with no explanation and effs off round the world for a year to, and take a deep calming breath before you read the next bit, find herself.
More’s the pity, she didn’t subsequently leave herself there, so the book of her experiences has become the film of the book and we’ve all got to sit here and deal with it. And what horrendous wonders the film encompasses! An omni-patronising global gallop around the most picturesque bits of Italy, India and Bali; an old episode of Holiday with Julia Roberts looking pensive in tastefully ethnic-appropriate clothing photoshopped over Judith Chalmers and her “radioactive mum at C&A” ensembles.
In Italy, Liz eats pasta like it’s a sexually explicit act and simpers at stereotypical nuns eating stereotypical ice-cream and stereotypical young men on stereotypical Vespas honking at passing women like stereotypical imaginary neanderthals. In India, Liz joins a spiritual retreat to meditate and find it in her heart to forgive her husband for his incredibly selfish act of being left by her. In Bali, hecklerspray had already been watching for two solid hours and could no longer make out the screen through the white-hot sheen engulfing all our senses, the result of our frontal cortex shutting down in a desperate act of self-preservation, but we think it was something to do with Javier Bardem being dashing with his enormous Easter Island face.
It’s hard to know what the most offensive thing is about Puke Scream Die. There’s the fact that every single person in it is an awful, awful bastard. Utterly self-involved, of the impression that the whole planet has been conjured into existence solely for their own personal fulfilment. The sort of person who follows gurus because they’re “hot”, or plonks themselves in a church and sneers “Go on then, deity. Impress me with your little tricks.” The sort of person who goes to a spiritual retreat in India, complains that it’s boring and hot and doesn’t specifically cater to their personal needs, before announcing they’ve found God and by a staggering coincidence, His plan for them is to be EXACTLY AS SELF-REGARDING AND TEDIOUS AS THEY ARE. The kind of person who should be forced to do one, just one, honest day’s work in their stupid, vapid lives. Or at least write an article about Muse and spend ten minutes dealing with the furious hordes and their burning bile.
People, if you cut us, we bleed. We bleed more bad words about Muse. You’ve only got yourselves to blame.
Maybe the most offensive thing about Puke Scream Die is its constant insistence that Julia Roberts is so brave, so courageous, for her year-long flit from the daily drudgery of normal human responsibilities. Oh, the bravery, to have so much disposable income you can?move to a foreign country with nary a care and immediately fall into a circle of English-speaking Eurosycophants who are just as pleased with every numbskull utterance that falls from their blubbering lips as your self-satisfied New York friends! Oh, no. You’re not getting away with that one, Julia Roberts. hecklerspray stopped going to work so we could concentrate on getting in touch with our inner self once. No-one said we were brave. In fact, they mostly said “For the last time, stop rummaging around in my bins.” To put it another way, here are three things that need more bravery than pissing off to Bali on an expense account to condescend the local pensioners: 1. Eating a kumquat. 2. Tying your shoelaces whilst on a moving train. 3. Watching this video.
Basically, Eat Pray Love is balderdash. But worse than that, it’s long, deeply tedious, over-serious balderdash that fuels the ridiculous notion that self-fulfilment is something to strive for no matter how many faces you trample on to achieve it.
Oh, and that there’s no way you can be happy unless you’re massively, massively rich, which is nonsense, because Tesco Value Cider is only a quid for two litres. It’s Valentine’s Day soon; any hecklersprayers pondering a cosy, romantic movie for the evening would do well to choose Eat Pray Love, as it’s so horrific that your chosen companion would probably acquiesce to the most depraved activities rather than watch past the half-hour mark. But everyone else, avoid like the plague, eat some Heinz spaghetti on toast and pray that this garbage never darkens your door. Oh, and remember…love yourself.
But not like THAT! You filthmongers.