I just want to preface this by saying I have never been affected by an eating disorder personally; this review may be impacted by that.
I seem to be spending a terrible amount of time lately watching Netflix, [sorry not sorry] especially since I have been downloading things to watch on my train commute to work. I noticed To The Bone and decided to download it because it was something I remember hearing about but couldn’t remember why. Apparently, it was the fact the movie is littered with controversy.
At the time of writing this review, I’m really conflicted about how I feel about this movie. To sum it up; it has elements of romance but isn’t a romance story, it has to feel good moment but isn’t a feel good film and also has moments of comedy but isn’t a comedic movie at the heart of it. I really enjoyed the movie but I’m still not 100% sure why. I do agree with some angry reviews that claim it glamorises anorexia. At times I feel it does because for the most part Ellen herself doesn’t seem too phased by it or like she is suffering.
I would recommend it when you have a free afternoon and you’re looking for something that will make you think a little more about life itself. It teaches that as much as someone may claim to “have it together” the majority of the time they don’t. In a very harsh way, it also taught me that not everyone can be “saved” and that sometimes learning to cope is the best available outcome.
My main issue with this film is that I felt like it was the first episode of a series and I was very disappointed that it was just a movie. I think the characters themselves are very likeable and I think Luke is absolutely great along with Kelly, her sister. My overall opinion is that it’s worth a watch when there is very little else you’d rather watch. It gives an insight into anorexia and the way people think when they are affected by such an affliction. It also briefly touches on the feelings and thoughts of the people who surround the “sufferer”. For a more in-depth review with spoilers, keep reading.
[Spoilers lie ahead]
The story follows Ellen (Lily Collins), a young woman who suffers from anorexia and has seemingly tried all treatments going other than a radical one at a group recovery home that is run by Dr Beckham (Keanu Reeves). The premise, I feel, is a good one. Like I mentioned earlier I feel like it would have benefited either from having a form of “resolution” or being made into a multi-episode series.
The lighthearted nature throughout the movie meant that I quite enjoyed it and it felt like an oddly compelling documentary in places. I myself have not been impacted by an eating disorder and I feel like it helped me to understand a little about the disorder. This being said the lack of a definitive “happy ending” did leave me a little hopeless that she would actually better and would ultimately lose her life. I can see why this ending was written but hopefully, this isn’t the case for everyone who has an eating disorder.
There is a “moment” in To The Bone between Ellen and Luke and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. I am a romantic at heart and love it when two characters seemingly perfect for each other get together. The fact that Luke is such a positive person and seems to be making a lot of good progress is the main reason why I feel like he’d be great for Ellen. He also doesn’t take things too seriously but knows when to draw the line as well. I write fanfiction occasionally (i know, I’m a nerd..) and have an overwhelming urge to write their recovery together.
The main issue I had though was that the whole “she’s an artist and some girl committed suicide” story line really confused me throughout. I still don’t really understand why the girl killed herself or what significance it had. Maybe it was what sparked the anorexia or was a result of it. If you’ve seen To The Bone can you please explain this to me?!
All in all, it’s definitely worth a watch but I would avoid letting younger kids watch it as I do agree in places it glamorises anorexia like 13 Reasons does with suicide. Worth a watch but doubtful I’d rewatch it.
Have you seen it? What did you think?
Let’s chat about it in the links below: