Directed by Ryan Murphy, ‘Eat Pray Love’ is based on the eponymous memoir written by Elizabeth Gilbert. The film follows her (Julia Roberts) journey across a path of self-discovery. Elizabeth’s mundane life in New York catches onto her desolation, forcing her to take the step. She has everything a person craves for- a husband, a successful career, and a house to settle down in.
These materialistic possessions mean very little to her as she wants to find her life’s true meaning. Elizabeth embarks on a journey across the world where she visits France, India, and Bali to self-reflect and finds a purpose to ground her floating thoughts. ‘Eat Pray Love’ is a breezy romantic drama that stays true to its source novel. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Eat Pray Love Plot Synopsis
Elizabeth Gilbert is a financially settled writer based in New York. Her married life hits rock bottom. She wants to end her eight-year marriage to Steven (Billy Crudup), but he doesn’t agree to the divorce. While trying to finalize the separation, Elizabeth begins an intense relationship with David (James Franco). Realizing that the affair cannot heal her from the divorce, Elizabeth succumbs to guilt that detaches her from reality.
Everything seems bleak when she examines the cause of the failure of her relationship. Elizabeth concludes that she doesn’t want anyone controlling her way of life. Sometime later, she confides in her friend and publisher Delia Shiraz (Viola Davis) about her desire to travel across the world as a way of self-discovery. Delia believes that the trip is an escape from the discontent plaguing her life.
Nonetheless, Elizabeth starts on her travels by remembering the advice of Ketut, an Indonesian shaman whom she has met before. Elizabeth decides to spend four months each in Italy, India, and Bali. She meets various kinds of people in her journey who help her understand the ways of life. Moreover, every interaction that Elizabeth has with apparent strangers turns out to be a lesson for her. She discovers the gastronomic route of eternal bliss in Italy, followed by a spiritual reckoning in India.
Unfortunately, the guru she comes to meet in India is away in New York. Despite this fact, Elizabeth manages to build a composure that enables her to be a good listener. Lastly, her trip to Bali forces her to rethink the entire ordeal to understand herself. In her quest to find a balance between Italy’s pleasures and Indian spiritualism, Elizabeth gets caught in a moment of serendipity that brings her close to true love.
Eat Pray Love Ending: Is Elizabeth Able to Reconcile With Felipe?
During her trip to Bali, Elizabeth meets Felipe (Javier Bardem), a charming Brazilian who seems to be an affable person. Felipe has a compassionate worldview and a sensitive approach to life. Elizabeth tries her best to curb the anxiety before delving into the feeling of love. Her failed relationships are a constant reminder of her desire to be self-aware without the weight of companionship. Moreover, the guilt blocks her emotions from surfacing as she has difficulty accepting her feelings, especially for Felipe.
When Felipe asks Elizabeth to confess her love for him, she breaks down. Felipe pushes her by saying that meditation alone can’t guarantee peace as she has to acknowledge her feelings consciously. Elizabeth tries hard to overcome her fear, and she finally manages to accept her love for Felipe. She believes that they both can validate each other and make their suffering meaningful.
In a voiceover, Elizabeth says that if someone is ready to face and forgive some difficult realities about the self, life can become worthwhile. She follows this path, and we feel that she has finally accorded herself with guilt and is ready to crossover to Felipe. Elizabeth and Felipe’s newfound love surmises that if a person can understand their own truth, it becomes easier to love someone without the confines of condition.
How Does the Journey Affect Elizabeth?
Elizabeth’s journey takes her across many personalities who end up giving important lessons that help her evolve. In Italy, she is guilt-ridden over the affair with David. Repentance occupies her mind, and it is through the pleasures of food she overcomes her stupor. Elizabeth understands that practicing gratitude can nullify regretful thoughts. Her Italian friends teach her the bliss of doing nothing, much like in Pablo Neruda’s poem, ‘Keeping Quiet.’
She also learns the need to let go of the past to enjoy present moments. As Elizabeth further opens to newer cultures in India, she undergoes a spiritual transformation by becoming adept in the art of listening. Elizabeth’s liaison with Richard in India enables her to empathize with others. She understands that she can’t always get what she wants but will always have the basic requirements. Shedding the weight of expectations, Elizabeth can now clearly look for moments of epiphany in unassuming places.
This is exactly what happens in Bali. With Felipe in her life, Elizabeth’s learning has come a full circle. The journey helps her heal, making it easier for Elizabeth to accept herself and her true feelings. Elizabeth reconnects with Ketut and is able to find her true partner in an unsuspecting manner. In essence, Elizabeth learns from people who hold a mirror and forces her to look at the mind’s reflections. In the process of letting go, she forgives herself: a daunting task for the human conscience.
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