Friday, 1 October 2010

Mangia Prega Ama

I went to see Eat, Pray, Love last week, the film with Julia Roberts that is an adaptation of the book of the same name, but of course I saw it in Italian. I really loved the book so it's no surprise that I think the book is so much better, but I did enjoy myself. Partly this is because the film was torn to pieces by the critics and word of mouth here in Milan ("the worst film ever" according to the people sat next to us and my colleague's friends) so I had really low expectations.

Ok, the film lacks all the spirituality of the book, and the beginning of the film fails to explain a) why you should like the main character and b) why she and her husband are getting divorced. It also forgot to put the main plot line in where she heals herself psychologically leaving you at the end with Julia Roberts crying again and throwing a wobbly about a new relationship, so you wonder what all the eating and praying was for. But really? The worst film ever?!

I'd like to hazard a guess as to what got the Italians' goat here though. I think it would be the depiction of themselves in the film. It shows a very American vision of Rome and Italy. The beautiful old house that is falling down (I don't know about you but the Villa Borghese area to me where she stayed looked about as flash as it gets when I went to Rome), the vintage car instead of a Fiat Punto, the lovers kissing in every scene and perhaps more importantly the rather OTT Italian friends she makes. The part where the film explains some not-THAT-common hand gestures was enough to make even me cringe for them.

It's a shame really because people were really excited when Julia Roberts came to eat in the infamous pizzeria in Naples where they make the best pizza in Italy dirt cheap. Imagine their dismay when the Swedish friend actually contemplates NOT EATING her pizza. No, some things just push the boundaries of credulity too far.

Still, other eating parts were spot on. Never has a film made me so hungry and inspired by endless tasty dishes. I came out of the cinema craving a nice plate of pasta and having totally forgotten that I live in Milan now after being absorbed in the film for an hour and a bit. It was a bit of a shock to find myself in front of the Duomo. I was in Italy. But I don't think my Italy is anything like Julia Robert's Italy.

No, in my Italy, to my horror and recent discovery, there is NO SUCH THING as the minimum wage.

Random Film Fact for Men Who Like Random Film Facts: The man who plays Julia Robert's language exchange partner was on Italian Big Brother.

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