Not gonna lie I’m going to whip out an awful pun soon, and you know what? You’re just going to have to love it.
A couple of weeks ago I was browsing through Netflix, and saw a new addition had appeared, a Netflix original, called To The Bone, and, an hour and a half later, I sat in my bed weeping, as I had indeed, been chilled to the bone… hahahaha why am I such a comedienne please?
All joking aside though, Netflix really ramped up their Original’s game, and To The Bone is one of the few films I’ve watched recently that really captured the torment of what it is like to have a mental illness… in this film’s case, focusing on the world of eating disorders.
The film stars Keanu Reeves (welcome back teenage crush), Alex Sharp, and, in the lead role of anorexia suffering Ellen (Eli), Lily Collins.
The film begins with a warning that it could be distressing to viewers, and good thing too, because it is a raw, honest portrayal of the torture and frustration of not only people who have to endure the effects of their eating disorders, but also the ripple effects on their friends and family.
What was even more interesting, is the fact that Lily Collins has opened up before about her own struggles with an eating disorder when she was a teenager, thus gave a performance that was genuine. Through her own experiences, she was able to capture the inner turmoil of what it is like to face disordered thinking and the contradictions that ED sufferers feel every day knowing that what they’re doing is harmful to themselves and knowing they need to get better, but being unable to let themselves lose this ‘control’ they have (or think they have) over what they eat and how much they weigh.
The world of eating disorders and disordered thinking is a dark and extremely complicated one- one which is hard even for sufferers to explain, let alone for actors and actresses to portray in a film or television.
To The Bone is not a film that preaches about the need to recover from disordered thinking, nor does it trivialise the recovery process. It simply follows Eli through a small part of her journey, and with a performance as amazing as Lily Collins’s, we feel every nauseous pang of anxiety she feels, every contradictory thought she thinks, and to be honest, you find yourself rooting for her.
So why is it so hard for us to root for ourselves?