‘To The Bone’ only scratches the surface


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.

Film-O-Meter: 7/10.

A Hollywood-ised sequel of well loved original.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny tells a story of lost love, young love, a legendary sword and one last opportunity at redemption.

If you were in any way a fan of the original film, I suggest you completely avoid this sequel as it classes amongst a variety of other questionable remakes that is a lot weaker and almost superficial than we’re lead on to believe.

The lack of originality in it’s story that comes from this film is it’s major downfall with its wide tracking cinematography and distorted colours coming in a close second. The scenery felt fake and screamed CGI, making me wonder why they didn’t make use of the natural beauty of China. Instead, we got something that felt like the landscape of Middle Earth. The dialogue was soulless and seemed as if it meant nothing to the characters. It was as if they were just spouting numerous philosophical one liners just to convey some sort of deeper meaning to the film and characters. Because of this weak dialogue and poor story, the film basically had no other choice but to centre around the fight scenes that could hardly compare to the sequences of the original.

For a Chinese film that was original spoken in the native language of the country it originated from, it was almost strange to hear the entire film being spoken in English with Chinese subtitles added in late for their supposed target audience.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny ultimately seemed like a Hollywood-ised sequel of well loved original.

Film-O-Meter: 5/10.

Even if you have time to waste, don’t.

tumblr_inline_o6ixtqqxbh1qd1ee1_500.png
Special Correspondents
tells the story of a radio journalist and his technician get in over their heads when they hatch a scheme to fake their own kidnapping during a rebel uprising in South America and hide out in New York instead.

Let me just start off by saying that I never was a big fan of Ricky Gervais’ comedic work but not everyone can be a fan of everything. His previous attempts at making films like that of Ghost Town or The Invention of Lying are riddled with cliched characters and full of jokes that fall flat.

For his most recent outing in Special Correspondents, it was like Gervais just didn’t care and woke up one day to decide he was going to write a new screenplay before slapping this sloppy mess together. It seemed like it was written and given no second thought, approved by Netflix without properly looking into how awful the work actually was. The film is mediocre at best, watchable but something in the background as you cook dinner. It’s boring and unoriginal and his attempts to break from his almost entertaining work on television (aka The Office, which proves to be his only memorable piece of work) and bad jokes while hosting the Golden Globes. Special Correspondents just feels like the work of a man who has finally made it and now with too much money to actually care. It’s like he’s almost turning into a British reincarnation of Adam Sandler, churning out shells of the once great work of his past. The film is predictably forgettable and something that his earlier self would’ve loathed making.

And it seems like America Ferrera and her on screen husband were just being exploited for their heritage despite how much Ferrera fights for roles for Latina women in the industry that are more than what they’re stereotypically known for.

Don’t waste your time. Even if you have time to waste, keep it for another film that’s so horribly bad it’s laughable and you can actually squeeze some sort of entertainment out of it.

Film-O-Meter: 2/10.

tumblr_inline_o9bqdnhezB1qd1ee1_500.jpg

The Fundamentals of Caring tells the story of a man suffering an incredible amount of loss enrols in a class about care-giving that changes his perspective on life.

This is one of those films where you hear nothing about it and yet when you do, you’re glad that you eventually found out about it. Even if it’s the slightest smile that it puts on your face, it’s a smile nonetheless as it puts a little faith back in humanity and reality into a market of performers who have become popular due to how “pretty” they are instead of the quality of their acting.

Even though this film doesn’t seem like much, that’s what makes it so great. It’s not overstuffed with unnecessary garbage or subplots, relying on the naturalness of the performances given by the actors within the film. The film can be a little dark, but that’s what makes it work so well as a black comedy. You could even possibly see a bit of yourself in the characters, which is possibly what makes it great because you can actually connect with it.

Selena Gomez thoroughly impressed me with her comedic performance in this film as her music is something I can barely stand large periods of time listening to and it’s not like she’s been in anything of value that would make her recognisable as an actress. In saying this, however, she could make easily make a transition if she continues with performances like in this film.

As for Paul Rudd, I’m glad that he can finally show his ability to create something real and dramatic while also blending in his unique style of comedy. The friendship between wheelchair bound Craig Roberts that Rudd has to look after and the aforementioned Rudd was something you could totally believe. Their need for each other in different ways was clear and it was a friendship that could make them learn and grow as characters. Gomez’s character was the glue that was needed to really cement them together to get over the everyday.

It’s an enjoyable and heartwarming film, definitely one of Rudd’s hits instead of the frequent misses he’s been making. If you’re in the mood for an upbeat feel food film, this is the one for you. Do yourself a favour and watch it. Thanks, Netflix, for creating something like this instead of the trash you agreed to make with Adam Sandler.

Film-O-Meter: 6/10

Boringly predictable.

tumblr_inline_ob4gpoWJLG1qd1ee1_500.jpg

Tallulah tells the story of a dissatisfied Beverly Hills housewife hires a stranger to babysit her toddler that she’s desperate to be rid of and ends up getting much more than she bargained for.

This low-budget feature from Netflix feels like a first time outing from someone who just graduated film school. Although it doesn’t feel totally unprofessional, it the quality didn’t seem that high and it was essentially a film about a nomadic woman who ends up stealing a woman’s baby after she becomes attached to it when she babysits the child. The child’s mother, played by Tammy Blanchard, overacted to a cringeworthy state. Her character seemed to just jump from an unloving mother to suddenly loving her child with no really connection in between. In fact, a lot of the cast were extremely underused where the relevant and important facts us as the audience needed to know were explained through speeches that were often widely overstated.

The conclusion of the film felt both inevitable and totally unconvincing, leaving me with a sour taste in my mouth and an empty stomach. A lot of the major plot points were predictable and in the lead up to these points, I constantly thought to myself “are they seriously going to go through with that? Is that really going to happen?” If I hadn’t already watched so much of the film, I would’ve turned it off right away.

Although Tallulah definitely falls short of its goals due to it’s ambitiousness, it’s a strong effort that doesn’t exactly surmount to anything. It’s a stiff and formulaic film with no creativity whatsoever. It’s such a shame actors had to be attached to this film. Those like Ellen Page, Allison Janney, Uzo Aduba, and a brief glimpse of Zachary Quinto (who was the most underused in this film as in one scene he just stood there holding the child after awkwardly fumbling about trying to figure out what to do with such poor direction) did what they could with a script that lacked any heart or any soul.

Film-O-Meter: 1/10.

It doesn’t matter what side your on, it’s worth the watch.

image
Amanda Knox
 tells the story of an American exchange student Amanda Knox is convicted and eventually acquitted for the 2007 death of another student in Italy.

This one’s going to be short and brief, especially considering how this subject is one that’s still heavily debated.

To be quite honest, I had little to no knowledge of the case while it was occurring, or of even the events of the final acquittal in 2015 while I was living in London. It wasn’t, unfortunately, until I saw Michael Winterbottom’s failure of a film The Face of an Angel two years ago that I that I knew anything about it. Netflix’s Amanda Knox is definitely a more interesting stitching together of events that shows how ridiculously flawed the initial trial was.

I honestly believe, after doing previous research into the case after seeing Winterbottom’s film and before I knew about this documentary, that Knox was innocent. There was nothing that would logically make sense for her to murder Meredith Kercher. No matter how others may convince either myself or other supporters of Knox, the evidence just doesn’t add up.

If you’re on either side, or even just sitting on the fence, this documentary is definitely worth the watch and an interesting read.

Film-O-Meter: 7/10.

Highlighting an issue that deserves to be heard.

Audrie & Daisy is a documentary about a look at the effects that online bullying has on the lives of teenagers and their community.

I found this film when I was looking for something to watch on Netflix and I’ve always been one who finds interest how the community and legal system react to sexual assault cases. The cases thankfully gaining more public attention and outrage at how it’s dealt with. As a screenwriter, this is also a topic I really want to deal with, despite how heavy and tough it would be to deal with from a writing and from an audience perspective.

Since I’m obviously not someone who lives in the states, I had only vaguely heard of Daisy’s case as it was given coverage on the news. Watching this documentary gave a much needed insight into the story and a heartfelt account of their point of view, a point of view that should be believed or at least considered instead of being written off like it was by police because they didn’t want to point fingers.

This documentary covers the span of a few years as we see Daisy, as well as a few others though the majority of the documentary follows that of Daisy who continue to push forward despite the public backlash and multiple suicide attempts, struggle with what happened to her.

It’s an ugly and harsh world and I’m glad documentaries like Audrie & Daisy along with The Hunting Ground and The Invisible War are getting the public attention it deserves so more of a light can be shed on the horrible things that are happening to the women, and even men, of our society.

Film-O-Meter: 8/10.