Anorexia, a lack or loss of appetite for food, an emotional disorder characterised by an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat. A disorder which is hard to recover from with millions of people around the world suffering from it.
To The Bone, the new original Netflix release covers the topic by following Ellen (Lily Collins) on her journey to realisation. Ellen, a keen artist is struck back as her art takes someone’s life away, leaving her with the burden of her death. To bring her back to life again, her destructive, separated family try their hardest to get her back to good health by going to multiple doctors and practises. It’s not until Dr. William Beckham (Keanu Reeves) takes her into a safe house where she is put with other patients with similar disorders to her that she discovers what it truly means to live.
Director and writer, Marti Noxon uses her directorial debut to cover the taboo subject of anorexia to great effect. She tells a distressing story of a young teenager going through personal struggles of trying to be thin and perfect for the world. Lily Collins makes it perfectly clear how strong she is within the role. She may be withered and thin within her method acting but her professionalism and accuracy is something to be admired. The images of her body were hard to look at and when a film makes you feel uncomfortable, for the right reasons, Marti Noxon and Lily Collins are clearly doing something right within their chemistry together to cover such a controversial topic. Finally, as acting performances go, Keanu Reeves has risen from the darkness of poorly made films to join the revolution. His on screen persona is admirable and different to what we have seen him in previously, showing that he has still got it.
As I mentioned previously, Anorexia is a taboo topic to cover and many disagree with what is shown within the film, calling it a ‘glamourisation’ of an eating disorder. As we all know by now, Netflix is destroying any barriers that are in their way to get what they want. 13 Reasons Why had the same backlash from the press with split opinions. Similar comments saying they are wrongly depicting what mental health is. In my honest opinion, I’m glad that Netflix is breaking the rules. We are having in-depth debates on controversial topics that are getting metaphorically thrown in the bin. Netflix has taken them out and polished them off and given them a whole new meaning. Anorexia and mental health does get talked about, but how much do they get talked about? is it enough or not? Films and series like these, aren’t they pushing it forward in the right direction? As much as you may or may not agree with what is portrayed in the film, isn’t it great that the whole world is talking about mental health and anorexia? I think it’s amazing and if it takes a controversial film to do that, I’m in.
In conclusion, To The Bone is an amazing film. It shows the harsh reality that some individuals may be going through in the world. It’s a film that gets you thinking. Many people in the world are suffering and not speaking out about their disorder. Seeing a well-made and constructed film has got me thinking about the subject of anorexia. I think that’s the important message to take away from it. You can blabber on about how much you hate it because of its misinterpretation and glamourisation of the subject, but we are finally talking about it. That is what matters.