The issue of anorexia or eating disorders is still relatively minimally raised in films, despite the fact that eating disorders affect around 9% of the world’s population, most of whom are women. Therefore, the film To The Bone (2017) produced by Netflix becomes a film that is good enough to answer the needs of representation of the issue of women with anorexia. In this film, the audience will be invited to participate in listening to the ups and downs of the struggle of Ellen, a young woman who suffers from anorexia. As the prologue briefly explains, this film is made by and with individuals suffering from eating disorders,trying their best to provide a realistic depiction that may make some viewers feel uncomfortable. Trigger warning, for friends who are still struggling with anorexia or other eating disorders .
Film Review To The Bone (2017)
The film To The Bone (2017) tells the story of the recovery process of a young woman named Ellen, who suffers from anorexia. Ellen had been in and out of the special care home for patients with eating disorders without any significant progress, until she finally returned home. To help Ellen’s recovery, Susan, her stepmother, enrolled her in a new nursing home, under the auspices of dr. William Beckham. Ellen, although reluctant at first, finally tried to join the treatment there and met six other patients—five women and a man who works as a ballet dancer named Luke. Unexpectedly, there, Ellen was able to embark on a new journey to recover from anorexia—though, of course not easy, ups and downs.
Throughout this film, the audience will be entertained by a slow narrative about eating disorders through scenes and dialogues. Suppose how Ellen really likes a bar of chocolate but she can’t afford to eat it. Instead of eating, his friends felt ‘quite satisfied’ by smelling the smell of chocolate on the opened package. Or how about the dining room, for eating disorder patients(anorexia & bulimia) are like “torture chambers”—they have to go to great lengths to sit still and eat there. How bulimia patients have the habit of ‘washing the stomach’ by deliberately throwing up food. There are also scary food calorie counts, how sometimes tubes and tubes have to be attached because the patient’s physical condition is already very medically worrying (acute malnutrition, which is the main cause of death for anorexic patients), and inpatient therapy that must be carried out for at least six months. month. Things that may be foreign to those who are far from the issue of eating disorders, but it is very helpful to try to understand this issue better.
Unfortunately, this film doesn’t specifically relate to eating disorders and women’s issues—such as how the burden of beauty standards affects women’s psychology. The number of women who experience eating disorders is far more than men, but the film To The Bone(2017) does not discuss the explanation of the reason in the film—only describes it implicitly through the details of the film where the comparison of patients in nursing homes is very obvious. Female dominant, with only one male. In the dialogue between Ellen & Luke, the issue of anorexia and its relation to women’s issues is briefly discussed: how ‘the main problem with anorexia is that bad people touch patients when they are underage’, which Ellen calls ‘just a normal shit’— such as sarcasm against society’s normalization of sexual violence experienced by women, especially when they are just entering puberty (breasts being touched by men, uncomfortable and ‘disgusting’ sexual talks from men, and even being stalked at night).
One of the plus points of this film is that the main character (Ellen) is played by Lily Collins, who admits that she also had anorexia and has recovered now. Lily Collins‘ characterization in To The Bone (2017) is indeed very strong and precise. The film To The Bone (2017), it must be admitted, although not perfect, it is still a film that raises the issue of eating disorders, especially anorexia, and voices it to the public. One of the films that should be listened to by mental health observers.
Closer to Ellen’s Figure in To The Bone (2017)
Anorexia is not the only thing attached to Ellen’s character in the film To The Bone (2017). After anorexia, Ellen is a young woman who is talented in drawing. On social media, through his tumblr account , he can even gain popularity and fans at the same time. With that talent, Ellen tries to cope with the eating disorder she suffers from—she expresses all the burdens in sketches. Unfortunately, there were fans of fellow anorexics who later committed suicide because they were allegedly ‘inspired’ by Ellen’s artwork, so many cornered Ellen after that. This tragedy broke Ellen’s heart even more.
Ellen was forced to quit and drop out of college because of anorexia. His very thin physique implies implicitly about his burden of grappling with anorexia every day. Ellen also has a habit of over-exercising, especially when she finds herself getting fatter and gaining weight—even though she’s still very thin. In this case, the audience is reminded again that anorexia is not only a matter of being thin or fat—but a perspective that requires psychotherapy.
“People say they love you.
—Ellen, in the film To The Bone (2017)
Regarding family, it must be admitted that Ellen faces a fairly complicated family situation. She had to accept the reality of her father and mother’s divorce at the age of 13, after her mother came out as a lesbian and decided to live with her new partner. Her father, who is practically absent from her life (including his complete absence throughout the film) remarries and Ellen gets a new mother, as well as a new (step) sister. Fortunately, he was able to have a close and close relationship with his sister.
Not explained specifically why Ellen could suffer from anorexia. The film To The Bone (2017) discusses Ellen’s struggles in dealing with anorexia: how her biological mother seemed to feel overwhelmed and almost gave up on her, how her stepmother was insensitive about anorexia so she tended to have a lot of ‘wrong’ approaches in her good intentions to help Ellen (such as giving her a gift of fat
Ellen’s character, played by Lily Collins in To The Bone (2017), as well as other female patients at dr. William Beckham, gives us a little representation of women who have to fight with anorexia and eating disorders . Very diverse in stories and stories, which of course cannot be underestimated. However, every woman has her own story, including those who have to struggle with anorexia & eating disorders.