‘To the Bone’ is written and directed by Marti Noxon for streaming service Netflix. The film centres around eating disorders and stars Lily Collins as Ellen, as she suffers from Anorexia.
Before it’s release, the film was feared to glorify eating disorders and be a potential trigger to sufferers and recoverers. This is why I think reviews on this are important before you watch it.
Ellen is a character who you would see as very negative, but it’s easy to see why. Her family clearly don’t put her interests at heart in the right way, they don’t understand Anorexia and they don’t try too. Ellen’s Step Mother Susan (played by Carrie Preston) is constantly insensitive to her disorder without realising. Telling her she’s not beautiful and baking her a burger shaped cake that says “Eat” on it. Her dad is never in the picture and won’t talk to her until she gains weight. Her Mother and her Girlfriend kicked her out because they couldn’t deal with her disorder anymore.
Ellen is so numb to the ways of her family, that she uses starvation as a way of control. She repeatedly tells her half sister, “I have it under control.” She punishes herself for past events by working out too hard and restricting.
With a suave ‘Girl Interupted’ vibe, Ellen is taken to an impatient program by Doctor Beckham (Keanu Reeves) where she stays in a house with six other patients, one of them is a guy called Luke who is near recovery from anorexia and spends his time trying to heal others in the house.
Ellen embarks on a journey, knowing that people only get to stay in the house if they make the decision to fight to live. She befriends the girls and Luke, each day avoiding ‘The Tube’. It’s a journey of up and downs, you see her highs and you see her lows. How quickly she can pick herself up and make massive improvements but then relapse and struggle. As somebody who used to restrict and obsessively calorie count, it isn’t triggering. There are moments when it is emotional and you want to cry, but it’s not because of the eating disorder.
The film has a happy vibe throughout. You know somehow that she’s going to make progress, you know it’s going to be tough but you want to support Ellen going through it. Lily Collin’s performance as Ellen is outstanding and if any other actress played her, then negativity would be too empowering. Lily’s subtle comedic undertones to emotion which we saw in ‘Love, Rosie’ are all here.
I would highly recommend this movie and I feel it can do so much in terms of awareness.