To The Bone tells the story of a young woman, Ellen (Lily Collins), who’s dealing with anorexia nervosa. She meets and unconventional doctor (Keanu Reeves) who challenges her to face her condition and embrace life.
The thing withTo The Bone is that whenever a topic such as eating disorders, suicide, or mental illnesses are dealt with, there will always be an outcry and a triggering aspect to those who watch it, no mater how the topic is dealt with. WhileTo The Bone hardly takes itself seriously, there are crippling points that are truly traumatic, but it doesn’t take it too far, and thank God for that. Netflix have learned their lesson, unlike with ’13 Reasons Why’ where it’s portrayal and glamourisation of suicide was crippling to the point of outrage. With the writer/director Marti Noxon and protagonist Ellen/Eli portrayed by Lily Collins both suffering from eating disorders, there is a true authenticity to the story despite the unconventional methods that Ellen/Eli’s eating disorder is dealt with.
It’s no doubt that people will be sceptical going into this film, especially those who suffer or continue to suffer from eating disorders, and none the less trigger for some.To The Bone is something that should be approached with caution, though what’s seen isn’t particularly as damaging as some other comparison’s. This, however, shouldn’t be taken without a grain of salt. Each person’s experiences can affect the way they perceive the world and have their own triggers, with anything in this film being triggering for different reasons. For those who haven’t experienced the condition, or know of someone close to them who has, it could give potential insight into how someone with an eating disorder could be potentially going through.
To The Bone explores dark and complex issues while interweaving it with unexpected moments of humour, creating an empathetic piece of work. It’s not something that’s easy to sit through, and the situation the characters are going through isn’t exactly made entertaining, it lays anorexia out before us and tells it like it is while give the story moments of hope throughout. And this hope can be seen as a distraction from the actual treatment of the condition, displayed through the romantic sub-plot. Love may not cure all but it certainly helps was the journey.
Despite Lily Collins not being the strongest of actresses, a lot of her performances emotionless and dry, bringing up the question as to how she got here in the first place, there was a glimpse of talent and honestly in her performance. This comes from her actual experience with an eating disorder, something she clearly struggled with for a very long time. Collins still proves to be an actress that has a long way to go in her chosen profession if she wants to see any sort of change without a heavily reliance on her famous family.
Where awareness of disorders are becoming more promising, there’s still a stigma, and To The Bone only scratches the surface.