Monday, February 27, 2012

With the Academy Awards fresh in my mind, I started thinking about the books to movies that I have loved and hated over the years. Of course, The Help won big last night, and I won't argue the deservedness of the honors. This is one of those cases where I enjoyed the movie more than the book, although I have some issues with both. I am in the minority when it comes to my criticsm, and that's OK. That makes for great discussion.

For me, the glaring flaw in both the book and the movie was the lightness with which this very serious subject was treated. Granted, attention was given to the harsh realities, but the one dimensional characters did a disservice to the overall effect.

But, I ranted about all that in the past, so on to Eat, Pray, Love -yet another book I didn't enjoy as much as others. In fact, I disliked it so much that when the movie came out, I wasn't tempted for a single moment to waltz myself to the theatre. What a mistake that was. Finally catching it on TV this weekend made me sad that, among other things, I missed out on seeing the lush scenery on the big screen.

The story took on a new life in the movie version. In her memoir, Elizabeth Gilbert comes across as a rich woman who just isn't willing to accept the goodness that surrounds her. She cries, she whimpers, she orders God to give her immediate answers, and then runs away to cleanse her mind, settle her soul, and find herself.

Gilbert comes across as far more sympathetic in the film. The reasons for her dissatisfaction still aren't clear, but the journey seems far less indulgent, and more purposeful. Out of place, out of touch, and out of her comfort zone, Gilbert is forced to go beyond what she wants and mpve on to discover what she needs to thrive as she navigates through Italy, India, and Indonesia. Her discoveries are painful, surprising, and motivating.

If I dig deep into my days as a Philosophy minor in college... (yes, it's a useless minor, and only earned me the right to wear a toga, strike a silly pose with index finger thoughtfully pointing upward as I proclaim "I think.") ...I think it was Socrates who said "An unexamined life is not worth living." The exact wording depends on what translation of Socrates' works you get your hands on, and the translation can influence how the quote is interpreted.

Anyway, Gilbert got herself into some serious life examining, which made me wonder if everyone does that in some way at some time. I figure, at the very least, we need to know what we like, who we like, and what we stand for. If we haven't thought about those things, then many of the decisions we make will be in the hands of others.

Watching the move made me wonder about where I would stop on such a pilgrimage. For sure, I would spent time in a far corner of a theatre, watching a play being directed, and seeing the slice of life unfold, change, grow, and eventually commit to being complete and not just a work in progress. I would sit in the middle of a busy mall and people watch, just because I enjoy doing that. And I would search to find colony of risk takers who relish in the joy they find in danger, be it physical, emotional, artistic, successful, or not. Seems like I should be able to do all that right here. but, I know that if I felt compelled to examine my life, I would want to do it at a higher a place where the skill and talent transcend the ordinary, and where I would not be distracted by other obligations.

OK...that's enough of that for now. Honestly, I haven't' even finished that movie, and look where it has taken me so far. By the end of this evening, Elizabeth Gilbert will have completed her stay in Indonesia; that was the most compelling part of the book for me, so I can only guess what effect that portion of the movie will have on me. I better put on my red carpet toga to when I watch it.

*****What am I reading? The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom (so far, I can say that Amy Chua is evil) and The Dog Who Knew Too Much, the fourth book in Spencer Quinn's Chet and Bernie series. Love it!

Thanks for stopping by. It has been so long since I blogged, I had to look up my password to sign on to Blogger. Geeze Louise.