I finally managed to watch the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” in its entirety last night. They say third time’s the charm, and indeed, attempt #3 set off alarms with every fiber of my being.
Based on the bestselling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert(Liz), the 2010 screen adaptation follows the author, played by Julia Roberts, who struggles to pick up the pieces after getting out of an unhappy marriage by becoming “a student of my own depressed experience to re-discover herself. The attempt to divine her optimal path led to 3 different countries: Italy (Eat), India (Pray) and Bali (Love).
She represents the archetype of what many of us have/might face at some point or another in our lifetime, and there’s one particular scene that brings light to this subject: Ruin.
Quoted from the film:
“A friend took me to the most amazing place the other day. It’s called the Augusteum. Octavian Augustus built it to house his remains. When the barbarians came they trashed it along with everything else. The great Augustus, Rome’s first true great emperor. How could he have imagined that Rome, the whole world as far as he was concerned, one day would be in ruins? It’s one of the quietest and loneliest places in Rome. The city has grown up around it over the centuries. It feels like a precious wound, like a heartbreak you won’t let go of because it hurts too good. We all want things to stay the same. Settle for living in misery because we’re afraid of change, of things crumbling to ruins. Then I looked around in this place, at the chaos it has endured – the way it has been adapted, burned, pillaged and found a way to build itself back up again. And I was reassured: maybe my life hasn’t been so chaotic, it’s just the world that is, and the real trap is getting attached to any of it. Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.”
Now used as an accomodation-cum-bathroom by the homeless, Liz reflects upon the aftermath of the once-majestic building have endured and survived. These ruins take us back to our foundations, albiet the present bruised and battered remnants. Ruin is indeed a gift where we are taken back to square one; from there we could ponder over our past mistakes and actions, then hopefully rebuild a better structure. A better self.
Have you read the book or seen the movie? What’s your take on this subject?