**Trigger Warning – eating disorders**
Before I start, I just want to say that I have never had an eating disorder. Sure, I have had issues with my body but unfortunately that is something that just seems to be the norm among men and women. Every day we see pictures of photo-shopped celebrities who appear “perfect”. So of course this is going to cause a mass effect of people constantly body conscious, taking on different diets and exercises to achieve perfection.
The reason I mention this is because my views of this movie will therefore be different to someone who is or has suffered an eating disorder.
To be very clear, an eating disorder is on a completely different scale. An eating disorder is a serious mental illness and not something to be taken lightly. It’s not just someone “going on a diet”. It is a pre-occupation of body weight and/or shape, exercise and food, and it can be deadly.
Ellen is an unruly 20-year-old anorexic girl who spent the better part of her teenage years being shepherded through various recovery programs, only to find herself several pounds lighter every time. Determined to find a solution, her dysfunctional family agrees to send her to a group home for youths, which is led by a non-traditional doctor. Surprised by the unusual rules, Ellen must discover for herself how to confront her addiction and attempt self-acceptance.
I have heard various opinions on this show and they have all been quite mixed. I think the first thing you have to remember is that this movie shows an experience but it may not be your experience. If you are someone who has suffered or is suffering from an eating disorder, there are therefore probably going to be moments throughout the movie where you are like “what the fuck?” or “that would never happen”.
I personally liked this film. It would feel wrong to say “enjoyed” considering the dark subject matter. However the humour was dry and dark, which I did enjoy. I found the characters interesting, however we really didn’t get to know them very much which I thought was a bit of a shame. The movie is about Ellen’s journey, however it would have been nice for her friends to have some more depth to them.
I liked how the family dynamic wasn’t perfect. You tend to see a lot of movies/shows where the family appears perfect, a point in which most people would say is unrealistic. While the family are a mess and broken up, the one thing they all have in common is their love for Ellen and the hopelessness they feel about her mental illness.
I loved how Lily Collins portrayed Ellen. I understand that Lily herself has had an eating disorder so I can’t imagine how difficult emotionally and physically it would have been for her to portray this character. I found her experience believable and through most of the film felt sad for not only what she was going through, but how her family treated her like a problem to solve.
Something I have to say I disliked was the love interest. Firstly, it was instalove…a trope I really dislike. I hate when two characters meet and then all of a sudden they are both seeing stars. I felt like the relationship wasn’t fleshed out enough and it didn’t feel real. It felt a bit forced, but then I don’t know if that was the intention.
Something else that I have thought of is that I think this movie would have been better as a television show or mini series. At times I thought it felt a bit rushed – hence the lack in character development for the side characters. The ending comes on very quickly. And while I understand why it ended where it did it still felt very…sudden.
Overall, I thought this was a great film. I will always advocate for things that are going to bring attention to mental illnesses as they are still taboo. The fact that movies like this garner a lot of heated discussion is good – because it means that people are talking about it.
Have you watched To The Bone yet? If so, what was your opinion on it? Did you love it or hate it?