I wonder what I’ll think…

By August 16, 2010 Blogging, Writing

…when they make my blog into a movie.

Because I just got back from seeing Eat, Pray, Love and—besides the panic attacks I’m having over such trivial things as being terrified to love again, what’s going to happen next in my career and how I’ve been flying a lot, but don’t quite think I’m ready to hop a plane all the way to Bali—I’m very busy wondering what Elizabeth Gilbert thinks.

About what they did to her book.

I mean, the movie was good. I catharted (that thumping you hear is my pulse). Julia is very, very good. Javier is salivatory.

But there was so much missing.

Yes, it was a 2.5 hour movie. Yes, they couldn’t possibly fit it all in. No, they couldn’t really make her look fat and then thin (though they did make Brad Pitt age backwards, so…). No, she never sat in the palm of God’s hand.

All of these things and about a hundred more are making me wonder what E.G. really thinks. Not what she said on Oprah. But what she says to Felipe. And to her writer friends. Does each and every speck of criticism make her want to grab the megaphone and holler, “Well, of course you didn’t see my transformation! They left 70% of it out of the movie!”

They really did. They left a massive portion of the meat and the guts of the story where it originally belonged—on the word-ridden floor of Gilbert’s book. Because how do you capture thought processes, that are so voluptuous and intricate, on screen?

I mean, I travel through 100s of miles of convoluted mazes of complexity and land on epiphany every morning. But to the passersby, I simply look like I’m running down the street.

Which is why, when Hollywood (or Diablo Cody, if I were to really have my way), comes to me and begs for my movie rights, I might sell out for millions and just pray that people also do the reading. Or I might demand the best screenwriter and a co-screenwriting gig. Or I might say, “Hmmm… It’s just that, oftentimes, words really do tell the best stories.”

Image credit: rauchdickson (and don’t judge me for putting needlepoint on my blog)

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Join the discussion 9 Comments

  • Mike Korner says:

    Never be terrified to love again Julie. It is the only pleasure worth the risk of pain. OK, having children is worth it, too :)
    p.s. Thanks for this review. I was wondering if the movie is worth seeing.

    • Julie Roads says:

      Thank you, Mike – such kind, kind words. If you read the book and liked it, I’d see the movie. It’s beautifully done. But, if you haven’t read it and are wondering what all the hoopla’s about, read the book.

  • Sondra says:

    I second what Mike says (about love AND kids) but my question to you is – have you read her second book yet? I’m wondering if it’ll hold up to her first.

    • Julie Roads says:

      I haven’t yet….but I really, really want to. I’m in line for it as we speak. But, I know that it will be different. I don’t doubt that her writing won’t shine – but look at the topics! They can’t really compare, you know?

  • Andi says:

    I have been disappointed too many times to have high expectations anymore for movies made from books I love. For EPL I am going into as a supplemental to the book, but don’t expect much more than that. I think some of the best movies made from books are from the 70’s and 80’s like The Thornbirds, The Winds of War and Shogun – granted, by being a TV movie that lasted over several days they could actually do more of the book – no one has topped those!

  • Malia says:

    I’m reveling in your last line, “oftentimes, words really do tell the best stories”. I’ve been doing a lot of reading over the past few months. Far more than I’ve done in the past few years. Books were always my escape when I was a kid. Then college and life and motherhood happened and movies became an escape because the time investment was cheaper. And now that the kids are more self sufficient and because I read SO MUCH on a computer screen these days…holding a book and escaping the words and stories that lie within is really the best escape again.

  • Julie –
    You have probably saved me from a grave mistake.
    Friends bought me a copy of EPL in 2008 when I was in the middle of a nsaty divorce. I started reading it, but life got in the way & – although I really enjoyed what I’d read so far – I set it aside.

    I was toying with the idea of going to the movie and going back to the book later, but I think I will go back to the book and catch the MOVIE later. I have too much respect for the words as they came from the writer’s mind. I’m sure the movie will be wonderful as far as movies go, but I want to savor the written word first.
    :)

    • Julie Roads says:

      Yes, Jamie Lee – READ IT first. Her writing is incredibly real and genuine. You just don’t get the whole story in the movie…like I said.

  • juliana says:

    Thanks so much for saying it. I think they intentionally left out most of the spiritual/transformational stuff in order to appeal to a wider audience, to play it safe. But unfortunately that puts it forever in the realms of “chick flicks” instead of being seen as it could have been.

    I felt they made the spiritual stuff out to be some sort of wacky whim rather than real, deep change and connection.

    The movie was lovely to look at but I was disappointed.

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