Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer
Adultery in the Bible
Should I save sex for marriage? Answer
My boyfriend wants to have sex. I don’t want to lose him. What should I do? Answer
How can I deal with temptations? Answer
How far is too far? What are the guidelines for dating relationships? Answer
What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer
DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE—Under what conditions may Christians divorce and remarry? Answer
What is the Occult? Answer
THE OCCULT—What does the Bible say about it? Answer
How can we know there’s a God? Answer
What if the cosmos is all that there is? Answer
If God made everything, who made God? Answer
What does God say? Answer
Is Jesus Christ God? Answer
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer
Will all mankind eventually be saved? Answer
|Featuring:||Julia Roberts (Elizabeth Gilbert), James Franco (David), Javier Bardem (Felipe), Billy Crudup (Steven), Viola Davis (Delia), Richard Jenkins (Richard), more »|
|Director:||Ryan Murphy—“Nip/Tuck” TV series, “Running with Scissors,” “Glee”|
|Producer:||Columbia Pictures, Plan B Entertainment, Red Om Films, Syzygy Productions, Brad Pitt, more »|
|Distributor:||Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures|
“Let your self go”
In Mark 10, Jesus tells a parable. In the story, a man is quite wealthy and haa produced a good number of crops. However, none of this satisfied him. Instead of being grateful for his fortune, he selfishly thought of how he didn’t have enough space to store all of his goods. So, he decided to tear down his existing barns and to rebuild bigger ones in order to store everything he has. This satisfied the man, since he now had enough possessions to last for several years. After this, his motto became to “Take life easy; eat, drink, and be merry.”
Jesus then states that God told the rich man that his life would be taken that very night, and the Lord then asked him who would get everything he had stored up for himself. Jesus ended the parable with a very wise warning:
“This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich towards God.”
As I sat in the theater, reviewing this film, the aforementioned parable immediately came to mind, as I began to witness the astonishing parallels. The film is based on the same-titled memoir Eat, Pray, Love which is about writer Liz Gilbert who indeed does have a blessed life, but still remains unhappy and decides to travel. By this journey, she plans on enjoying life, food, and finding herself within spirituality and meditation.
Before going any further, I should state that I have never read Gilbert’s bestselling memoir, nor have I seen any of her interviews. So I cannot make any comments towards the memoir or the author, since I never heard or read her own words. This is especially important when considering how Hollywood usually takes varying liberties when it comes to creating a film from a novel. So any critiques come from my viewing of the film.
“Eat, Pray Love” begins with a six-month prologue, where a medicine man in Bali reads Liz’s palm and tells her future. Back in New York, Liz is a writer who’s beginning to feel increasingly unhappy in her marriage. While her husband is sweet, he’s awkward with babies, does not enjoy traveling as much as Liz does, and he still hasn’t made up his mind on which direction his life should take. After one conversation with a friend, he contemplates returning to graduate school to become a teacher, much to the dismay of Liz.
Seeing her marriage at a crossroad, Liz tearfully prays to God and asks for a sign on what to do. Upon returning to bed, her husband turns to her and states that he doesn’t want to go with her on her latest trip. Taking this as a sign, Liz leaves him, begins an affair with a young actor, and eventually decides to travel to Italy, India, and then Bali.
The journey follows the movie’s title. Italy is almost all about delicious, gourmet food, where weight gaining is a novelty and embraced. In India, Liz lives in a Hindu temple, as she learns to control her mind and heal her wounds by meditation. In the final stop in Bali, Liz revisits the medicine man and completes the circle by finding love with a man who’s also healing from a divorce.
The character of Liz Gilbert comes across as selfish and, at times, childish. With this, she remains very unrelatable during the entire movie. She leaves behind a devoted husband, and, in one scene, even yells at her dedicated friend that she feels nothing for her since she’s so unhappy. I’m quite certain we’ve all come to a place in life where we question how we ended up where we are—or doubting our marriage when we see the pair of dirty socks on the floor for the 5th year in a row. However, that is still no excuse to treat others harshly and to suddenly give up on a marriage. During the divorce proceedings, Billy Crudup does an excellent job in portraying the very hurt husband who pleads with Liz to stay with him. She provides some meager excuses, but to no avail. He calls her a quitter, repeatedly and even sings it. At the end of the film, it shows him with a new wife and baby. I wonder if this was in the memoir. My personal opinion is that this was merely added to help sell the false notion that Liz completely blindsiding her husband with a divorce was actually a good thing.
The movie was originally rated R, but an appeal moved it down to the more bankable PG-13 rating. In all, there are over 16 uses of profanity, including one ‘mf’ and 1 ‘GD’. A little Italian girl flips off Liz and her friends. There’s a montage of Italian gestures and their translations, with a few meaning “screw you.”
While there are no sex scenes, they’re implied with Liz lying in bed with different men and with the shutting of a door. Casual sex is a norm and heavily saturates the film’s conversations and jokes, from beginning to end. And while in Bali, several say “Everyone should have a sexual affair while in Bali.”
While partying and drinking, Liz meets a man whom she follows onto the beach. He then strips to go skinny dipping; the camera lingers on his backside for quite a long time. Some couples are shown kissing on streets; during one of these, the man is shown going under the woman’s shirt, the camera turns away right before he touches her breast. There are several low-cut dresses and shirts throughout the film.
The film’s main offense is its false spiritual message, which is very heavy throughout the film. The entire premise of the film is based on the prophecy the medicine man told Liz during the palm reading. There are several scenes of meditation, worshiping and singing to a Hindu guru and the temple’s idols. There’s also a lot of talk of “god.” Would this higher power include the God of the Bible? Absolutely not. During her first prayer, Liz asks “god” to give her a sign, which she takes to divorce her husband. The Christian God himself says in Malachi, “I hate divorce.” No, there are not many paths to God. There is only one, Jesus Christ. Is this my opinion? No. And my opinion doesn’t matter, only what the Scripture states. One of the more popular verses is when Jesus himself said,
The Indian Hindus are very open to Jesus and had asked where our God was, assuming He, too, was some tangible object. They were willing to worship him along with their other idols. It took them a while to understand that the Heavenly Father is not made from perishable, man-made materials. Throughout the entire Old Testament, God clearly expresses his disdain of idols and the foolishness of worshiping them (Habakkuk 2:18-19, and my favorite and a definite read Isaiah 44:6-21). Acts 17 would also be a great read, where Luke wrote in great detail of how Paul witnesses to the religious city of Athens that was full of idols, even one for the “unknown God.”
Christians should stay far away from this movie. Gilbert traveled around the world searching and found nothing. There’s truly no redeemable quality to this film. The most positive aspect? Julia Roberts looks gorgeous and carries the film well. My main point is that though “god” is used in several different contexts today, the holy God of the Bible should never be grouped with them. I even know some Christians who believe that “all paths lead to the same place.” This isn’t true; ironically even I used to believe this before becoming a Christian. I could try to spend pages discrediting the film’s spiritual message, but the answers lie within Scripture, which all Christians should study diligently. The film preaches that God is within all, is all, and he doesn’t care what we do. If this were true, the world would be in big trouble. This is why the Lord defined what righteousness and sin are and gave us the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
Neutral—I would like to write a response to the review by Jeananne Hawking, age 47 (USA). Jeananne wrote, “God” is many things to many different people—who are you to decide what “God” told Elizabeth Gilbert? I want to point out, based on my observation, the reviewer did not “decide” what God told Elizabeth Gilbert, but rather pointed out the difference between how God’s revealed word (the Bible) defines spiritual reality, and the falsehood presented in this movie.
I am very thankful for the accurate spiritual Truth I have found consistently presented by the reviewers on Christian Spotlight, as this has enabled me to filter and spare my family from being exposed to the many cultural perversions that I do not wish to support as a consumer.
You, Jeananne, have revealed by your statement about “God,” that you are either an atheist or agnostic, at best, because you have defined God as a mere “concept” created by people for their own psychological edification, rather than as the only all-powerful and sovereign Creator of the entire universe.
Such a view of a “higher power” is good for nothing but false hopes and manipulative justification for an entirely “self-centric” view of life. When any person’s life has been reduced to the pursuit of personal gratification and happiness as the highest goal, it is no wonder that the very thing you’re searching for (fulfillment) has eluded you.
If you do not know the one and only true God, through a personal relationship with his son Jesus Christ that is based on true faith and repentance, then you can never experience the true joy and fulfillment that God offers to every one of us as His creation through that relationship.
I pray that some day you will come to realize your need for a real relationship with God, and for forgiveness of your sin, so that you can experience the true joy and fulfillment that God is offering you …which is so different from the false hopes and endless pursuits that are so typical of our world today.
Neutral—I have just read the review by Jeananne Hawking, age 47 (USA) and really find the comments made unfair to the reviewer of this movie. This is a Web site that Christians can visit to check to see if the movie they are interested in is offensive or not based on biblical teaching. Therefore, the reviewer is expected to expose materials like divorce, foul language, sex, etc.
Just because this day and age is so perverted does not mean that sin in movies is now acceptable, and reviewers must be afraid to be honest about the content in a movie. I hope that remarks like Jeananne’s are not placed on this Web site going forward, as it degrades the Web site’s credibility and goes against honest Christian reviews of movies.