20 year-old Ellen isn’t interested in living. Being sent to various recovery programs throughout her life, her extremely dysfunctional family sends her to one with Dr William Beckham. Using radical and contemporary recovery methods, this dark comedic story follows the Ellen’s journey through anorexia nervosa.
This controversial drama is by far Collins’ best work. Her riveting and striking performance is extremely realistic in how she portrays a young women with anorexia. By far it is one of the most honest stories I’ve ever been told. Reason being that firstly, Collins and Noxon have both previously suffered from eating disorders which I’m sure resulted it in being an accurate representation of real life. Secondly, throughout the films entirety, other eating disorders are being referred too, like bulimia nervosa. You see dreadful effects of these eating disorders which are not made to look better than they are (having a miscarriage from bulimia).
Although there are some, I have never watched such an insightful film about eating disorders. It really sheds some light on this topic of discussion. The ending actually reminded me of a Woody Allen film, with the abrupt finish which leads you to your imagination. Obviously, Eli was going to try and get better. However, it wasn’t a happy ending for everyone from losing their babies to never being able to pursue their passion again. It was sorrowful, but not tragic. This shows just how there is a never ending cycle. Of course it couldn’t show everyone overcome their eating disorders as that’s just not realistic. Also, Eli and Luke couldn’t have made up and become friends again. Within the film anyway. The story was about Eli’s road to recovery and how she overcame her demons. Although we pity Luke and want him to be happy, it just wasn’t about it. He just happened to be a significant part of her recovery.
‘To The Bone’ has been getting a lot of backlash by ‘glamorizing’ and ‘romanticizing’ anorexia. It has even being accused of being a potential ‘trigger’ for anyone who has or is suffering from an eating disorder. However, although it may be a trigger, there is a warning at the beginning of the film about the contents. Personally, I think it is an incredible story that needs to be told. On the other hand, for more sensitive viewers it may not be the best film to watch as it shows insanely thin Lily Collins and different eating patterns throughout the movie. It does also show the negative effects of eating disorders which are difficult to watch, yet still truthful. How can you make a film about a topic this serious, safe for people to watch? You just can’t.
The fact that ‘To The Bone’ is partially a comedy has started a lot of debates as well. Why should a film about something so important, be made to make people laugh? I did laugh during it, at Eli’s cynical sense of humor to Luke’s awkward and semi-funny jokes. Humor fitted into this film perfectly though. A film like this needs something like that to make it entertaining. At the end of the day, the directors and producers want people to enjoy watching it, as well as making them think. More importantly, the fact that these young adults were still joking and talking humorously can give other people hope. There is some light at the end of the tunnel and with support of friends, you can get through it.
This deep, sensitive and sharp film will bring you to tears, make you laugh and think. It may not be Oscar-Winning, but is still worth to watch with Lily Collins performing excellently in such a tender way. Before you make a judgement, at least watch the film!