Eat, Pray, Love
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What do you want to do? What are the biggest answers? Most important, what are the greatest questions?

This is what Elizabeth Gilbert asked herself on her quest which was to bring her to a discovery trip throughout one year spent in Rome, India and Bali.

Game of words, is what she likes and pursues. Liz loves language, so while learning Italian she gets enchanted with a simple verb like “attraversare” (“the ‘ah’ of trepidation, the sweetness of the ‘s’…”), literally to walk across, and which will bring the film to a close while she crosses over the sea with the man she is happy to love, at last.
This is Hollywood at its best circa 2010. Really a nice, well done motion picture, with a total respect for the book it’s born of. A little romantic, but solid in its focus on the main message of the book: know thyself, ask questions of yourself, try and understand what you love.
Liz and friends talk about describing cities with words. What word would you describe Stockholm with? “Conformity” Rome? “Sex” they all say.

Why is it so difficult to answer those questions? Why is it so difficult to know what one loves? Is it because we try for all our lives to be the guys we “want” to be, as opposed to the man and women we’d love to be? Is it because we learn some patter-matching response schemes and we apply them blindly through most of our life?

I was sad while watching the movie, sadder than I remember I was when reading her book.

I was watching the romanticized shots from Rome and I was saying to myself “What the hell! What about your own questions?” Nice shots by the way, with the usual American rhetoric of “Italians know how to live life”, the “dolce far niente” (sweet do nothing), etc and conversely, the stereotype of Americans being perceived in Italy as tunnel-vision-prone, workaholic people who can have fun but know not how to have pleasure.

Still, the question lingered above my head while watching the movie, while the story took off from Italy and touched India and Bali. Bali, a place I visited when my eldest daughter was just 4 years old! The sadness I believe came not from revisiting the rhetoric shots (with all they remind me about Italy or Bali), but from realizing I have not yet found those answers. Worse, I have just begun asking the questions! But perhaps this is very good news.

You will lose all your money. Don’t worry: You will get it all back.

Here’s a nice interview with Liz Gilbert. Enjoy, read the book, then…

… go see the movie!

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About Antonio Vantaggiato

Professor, web2.0 enthusiast, and didactic chef.
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