New review – Eat Pray Love: consumerism is not empowerment

// 5 November 2010

Tags: , , ,

By selling her travel experience as a path to wellness, Elizabeth Gilbert’s trip becomes part of the predatory self-help industry, marketed specifically toward women, argues Taraneh Ghajar Jerven

eatprayloveposter.jpgEat Pray Love, the film adaption of bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert’s post-divorce quest for enlightenment, has bored critics and spurred misogynistic diatribes about self-obsessed women. Some feminists have leapt to defend it. Others find the film’s message damaging to women.

“Sit, watch, groan. Yawn, fidget, stretch. Eat Snickers, pray for end of dire film about Julia Roberts’ emotional growth, love the fact it can’t last forever,” said Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian.

BBC film critic Mark Kermode was even less kind. “An over-privileged woman learns that learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all,” he blogged, sarcastically of course.

But since when is self-obsession banned from cinema? As a young feminist, it seems to me that mid-life crises are amusing or fascinating if they happen to men, like John Cusack in Hot Tub Time Machine, Kevin Spacey in American Beauty, not to mention most Woody Allen films. By contrast, a crisis is intolerable from Gilbert, even when banished to the chick flick category. And there’s no question that the Eat Pray Love audience is predominantly female, except for the bored-stiff male film critics.

Click here to read on and comment

Have Your say

Comments are closed on this post

Further Reading

Has The F-Word whet your appetite? Check out our Resources section, for listings of feminist blogs, campaigns, feminist networks in the UK, mailing lists, international and national websites and charities of interest.

Write for us!

Got something to say? Something to review? News to discuss? Well we want to hear from you! Click here for more info

  • The F-Word on Twitter
  • The F-Word on Facebook
  • Our XML Feeds