Movie Monday: Eat Pray Love
Posted by Rosepixie on June 7, 2010
This is a poster for the upcoming movie version of Eat Pray Love.
I stared that this poster for a long time before deciding to talk about it here. The thing is, this poster bugs me. A lot. And it took me a while to figure out exactly why.
It’s the nun. I don’t think that the nun belongs in this poster. In fact, I think she’s there deliberately and it bugs me even more now that I realize she’s the problem here. The thing about Eat Pray Love is that it’s a memoir very specifically divided into three sections: eat, pray and love. Each one follows the author’s journey to a different country and focuses very much on a different thing. “Eat” focuses on her travels to Italy and, obviously, is in large part focused on her explorations of different dishes and foods. “Pray” focuses on her travels to India and her spiritual quest there, which is not (obviously, since it’s in Italy and not the Vatican City) centered around Catholicism. “Love” takes place in Indonesia and tells about her taking a lover there.
I’m pretty sure the nun is in this poster so that Julia Roberts eating gelato isn’t just representing the “eat” portion of the story, but that the poster can also evoke the “pray” part. The problem is that it’s deceptive and makes me suspicious of the movie’s adaption of the book. It’s deceptive because it suggests that “pray” has something to do with the Christian religion, which it doesn’t really. It makes me suspicious because I have to wonder if Hollywood changed the story so that it does.
This may all sound like nitpicking, but in a country full of people who assume that the world is Christian and nothing that isn’t Christian is religious this kind of message is powerful. Even subtle messages matter (hopefully if you’ve been reading this blog for a while that isn’t a new idea), and subtle message that I got from this poster was a continued marginalization of anything that wasn’t Christian. There are so many ways they could have evoked Italy and food without Christian imagery and ways they could evoke India and her spiritual journey as well, but this is what they chose? I just find it frustrating and disappointing. We can do better and we should expect better.