For example, in a movie theater, after a large meal, you actually hold your stomach and waddle-walk to the ticket counter [okay maybe that's just me] and all of a sudden the aroma of fresh popcorn mixed with buttered flavored oil hits your nostrils and then you find yourself on line buying a bucket of it. Not a small single serving bag but a bucket. In my experience THAT is the power of suggestion. I am full after a meal, I enter a new environment and smell popcorn, my content body gets incoming information through my sense of smell and that aroma encourages a desire. That desire enables me to act. The act ends in an enormous bucket on my lap, yes shared with my companion. But never the less that means I eat something I didn't actually want. I don't know about you but I find that powerful. The placebo effect in the works? Maybe, but that's another conversation for another post.
There is one movie that comes to mind where this power is evident in my behavior every time. And that movie is Chocolat. I am not a chocoholic at all although I do like chocolate. But whenever Chocolat airs on satellite, I watch it [as if] and I must have chocolate in the house when I do. The scene where they pour chocolate sauce over the meat at the birthday party, when Juliette Bionoche pours hot chocolate for Johnny Depp in La Chocolaterie Maya and when they all prepare treats for the Easter festival gets me every time. I simply must have a piece of broken chocolate bar melting in my mouth when those scenes are on.
I was looking for that same effect while recently attending an advanced screening of Eat, Pray, Love starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem. I read the book last year at the suggestion of Oprah. She just raved on and on about how one's third eye will open afterwards. Well mine didn't. Admittedly, I am not a fan of the book at all. I thought that it was a whiny and self absorbed account of a woman who no longer wanted to be married to a particular man, didn't want a life with him nor wanted children. The only part that I appreciated in both the film and the book was the EAT portion and that is because it took place in Italy. A place where I have been and a place where I ate well three times a day for 10 days. However I didn't gain a pound because I walked everywhere we visited in both Rome and Florence. I related to her indulging in the food experience there. One cannot imagine how fantastic the food is every place you choose. Every hole in the wall restaurant we visited had indescribably fresh and finger licking good pasta, sauce, cheese, fish and bread. And I would have to dedicate an entire post on the magic of eating Gelato. All I will say is that once you've had it sitting in Rome on the Spanish Steps looking down the street at the pedestrians and designer shops, you'll never eat American ice cream again. But I digress.
The film did not have enough of the EAT in my opinion. There were eating scenes with lovely close up shots of the food but there should have been much, much more. In fact the whole "groceries" nick name was given to her based on the amount of food that Richard in the PRAY portion of the book and film observed that she could put away. That was not evident in the film either. "Groceries" just came out of the clear blue sky. Julia should have been ravenous at every opportunity to "act" with food in the scenes. Food glorious food, why dost thou evade me?
Elizabeth was deeply emotional in the book having several moments of the ugly cry - snot on chin, red swollen eyes emotional breakdowns in her bathroom. Julia, as fantastic an actress as she may be, didn't convey those physical emotions. I can only guess because contractually she must be beautiful in every scene, with the lighting and filters just right. Because of that the film version was lovely and cinematic no doubt, with Julia droning on in voice over about the musings in her head. Julia gave me tears but not enough. In fact throughout the film Julia did display Elizabeth's selfish and unsure ways without much contemplation about the consequences. Karma being what it is, where was the payoff about what happens when you screw around with people, their emotions and ultimately their lives?
PRAY was a romp as well, first the depiction of some struggles with meditation and service were evident and then it turned into a social excursion with an elderly guru and a young bride.
LOVE was the payoff in both mediums [book and film] for Elizabeth, while still struggling with her selfish ways but now involving Felipe/Bardem, gets to be with him in the end.
So not liking the book, I did enjoy the film more but only because of the exotic locations and seeing cutie patutie (sp?) James Franco close up again. I'll have to give EPL, a far cry from the girlfriends night out that SATC was two years ago, only one star. I say save your cash and wait for it to come on cable next year. Bravo to Elizabeth Gilbert; writers dream of such success. That said, I can't even endorse this film for those who absolutely loved the book, because I don't get why you loved it. Sorry. Look if it's any consolation to the EPL fans, SATC 2 has been out for 48 hours now and I'm not pressed to see it due to all of the horrible reviews. One day though.
I'm actually looking forward to seeing the documentary "Babies". Hum, maybe today after food shopping...