Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey to Italy, India, and Indonesia became a wildly popular book, endorsed by Oprah and beloved by book clubs. This week, the movie starring Julia Roberts opens in theaters, and fans will be able to see the story unfold in the actual locations.
They will also be able to buy many, many trinkets. Sandy Cohen of AP reports that an onslaught of “EPL” merchandise is about to be launched. We are used to the idea that movies for children will have tie-ins on products from snack food to sleeping bags, but this is the first “chick flick” to be turned into an infomercial.
Stores will be flooded with all things “Eat, Pray, Love.” Look for candles and moisturizing creams; jewelry, bookmarks and tote bags; a dedicated shop at Cost Plus World Markets featuring furniture, food and clothing inspired by the film; a branded digital reader pre-loaded with the book; a Republic of Tea blend; a line of designer clothing by Sue Wong; and a weekend special on HSN filled with products pegged to the movie, including prayer beads, scarves and hundreds of other items from the countries the story’s main character visits during her quest for self.
The book, of course, is about transcendence and spiritual values. Anyone who has read it knows that you don’t get satisfaction from cheesy tschotskes. The book is about authenticity, purpose, and meaning and anyone who thinks you can get that with a tote bag or face cream missed the point. Unless you can put in an order for James Franco or Javier Bardem, I recommend you skip it.