I was recently on a trip and decided to watch the movie “To the Bone” on my plane ride from San Diego. Netflix had released this movie on July 14th of this year and I really wanted to see it ever since I saw it announced a few weeks ago. As soon as I started to watch the movie I could feel that uncomfortable feeling of knowing a bit too well what the actress was trying to portray, and although I’m sure there are a thousand different eating disorder stories that can be told, I felt this was a good one to tell.
This movie is about Ellen, a 20 year old college dropout who struggles with anorexia. There were various reasons why I thought this movie did a good job at showing the reality of eating disorders and I will be listing them here, but no worries, I promise not to spoil the movie for you so you can relax and keep reading.
- The movie shows the experience of getting help from a professional and going into an inpatient treatment center. A reality that impacts the life of many people everyday. Current statistics show that eating disorders are a daily struggle for about 10 million females and 1 million males in the United States alone. Strangely enough most of us don’t hear these stories often even though chances are we all have friends or family members who had gotten through a similar experience at some point.
- They try to break the stereotypical patient taboo. Most of us have a very specific image of what a person with an eating disorder looks like. When we think about it, we think of the incredibly thin, sad looking teen girl that stays away from the crowds. In reality, the truth is that this is an illness that affects many people from all different ages and sizes. No person is immune.
- It doesn’t look pretty. The truth is, when you have an eating disorder you are mistreating your body, and guess what, it is not pretty. From the images of bony bodies and chapped lips to the skin bruises on top of the backbones (which I have seen myself before), this movie showed the ugly reality of unhealthy eating habits without turning it into a horror movie.
- It is not about being thin. This is a huge misconception about eating disorders that I think a lot of people still have. Having an eating disorder is not about an obsession with being thin, that is the symptom, and this movie touches into the psychology behind the illness. It doesn’t talk about wanting to fit into a dress size or looking smaller in the mirror but more about the issues that bring these people to the place they find themselves in the present.
- It is not a “mean girls” story. This story is about a patient and her family trying to survive. No teens competing over popularity or looks but a truly insightful story about a regular person with an eating disorder.
I really enjoyed this movie in a “one time is enough” kind of way. Haha. I think is a great movie that can start the very important conversation about eating disorders and so I appreciate it for that reason. We really need more of these type of movies to better portray the reality of the world in which we live. A lot of people become cutters, fall into depression or an eating disorder at a very young age without even realizing what they are going through and I think is very important to bring this information to light. I certainly would have liked to know more about it when I was younger and for the adults close to me to do so too.
If you like drama you are probably going to like this movie and for parents with kids who are going through it, it may be a good way to see things from afar. No action or comedy, so you have been warned!