Film Review: To The Bone
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To The Bone is quite simply a perfect movie. For anyone wanting to learn about eating disorders, wanting to see if their experience was the same or just wants to watch a funny but moving film, needs to log into Netflix and watch this ASAP. Lily Collins' portrayal of the main character Ellen is refreshing, lighthearted and honest. From the moment the film starts you're greeted with humour and can relax from there on in. There are no worries about feeling awkward about the delicate topic due to Collins' professional acting and the beautiful directing from Marti Noxon. For anyone who has experienced any type of eating disorder but
moreso Anorexia Nervosa, be prepared to feel nervous, sad but also hopeful. The story sends chills down your spine and it's hard to remember you're learning about the character Ellen's story, not watching a replay of Collins' own journey.
Every piece of research needed to make this film a success is there and has been executed perfectly. However it shows that infact, the first hand experience from Noxon and of course Lily is what makes this real. From the different representation of characters throughout to the constant re-assurance from Ellen that everything will be okay will really touch anyone who has experienced this themselves.
We quickly learn of the re- occouring battle Collins' character Ellen is having with Anorexia Nervosa and that this has been a constant in her and her family's lives for many years. It almost seems normal to them, as if it's permanant and in all their DNA. We learn that Ellen has a sore family life with her parents being divorced, her mum's moved away with her new lesbian partner and her father can't even see her. We never once see Ellen's father in the film which makes us feel just as ditached from him as we imagine Ellen is.
We are treated with an insight into how each individual copes with their disorder throughout the film. There are multiple characters who react differently to others, some with a lighthearted 'get on with it' approach, others with a 'I don't want to be like this forever, I need to eat' approach and then Ellen herself who doesn't seem to want to get better.
frustation you go through as a viewer is portrayed by the family. You hear of their struggles and worries and their want for Ellen to get better but also their constant confusion as to why she puts them and herself through this. At one point in the film Ellen's sister says "I don't get it, you just eat."
These scenes where we watch family members break down through frustration are so vital when trying to tell such a touching story. Often people forget that it's not just the individual going through the trauma but the people around them, friends and family. It's hard not to cry when you see for the first time Collins' character realise how upset she has caused her loved ones to be.
Many mental illnesses are seen as very selfish as to anyone else there is a simple soultion which will help you overcome it. Just eat, stop eating, just be happy, but none of those things are that simple to someone suffering. Marti Noxon has made sure that the audience sees it from Ellen's perspective and despite her family begging her to get better it can't happen until the individual is willing.
There are so many touching scenes in the film where the group are shown beautiful things which proves they can have fun and they can live. The world is a beatuiful place with room for them on it. We see a build up of hope and courage as the group slowly pull together to try and help eachother through. You will no doubt sit with tears in yours eyes and goosebumps on your skin at the happiness you witness throughout.
With a film that can prove hard to watch but is key for raising awareness and that could potentially save lives, you have to strike the right balance and every member of the To The Bone cast and crew have executed it perfectly. They haven't tried to glamourise eating disorders and mental health, they havent tried to normalise it but instead they have shown that it is a thing and it is becoming far too common and it needs to be spoken about and dealt with.
They have added humour and comfort to make the audience fall in love with each character and their bonds with each other and they have shown that anyone, no matter what situation they fall into, can have hope and can believe that everything will be okay.
To the Bone is available to watch now on Netflix.
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