My Thoughts on "To The Bone"
There are so many things I want to say about this movie. I've been seeing SO many mixed reviews about it from people who have been victims of ED, and so I wanted to share my take. My overall takeaway was that it did a good job of bringing light to a subject that's so incredibly hard to understand/ portray, but there was definitely an even mix of pros and cons.
I'll start with the cons.
For one, Lily Collins has a history of an eating disorder, and for this role she had to lose a substantial amount of weight. It's completely messed up that the directors found it okay for her to essentially "relapse" in order to accurately depict her role.
Second of all, the treatment center that Ellen is in is not remotely realistic. She's in a deathly ill state and placed in a home where they can choose what and IF they eat. That would never happen. Real treatment means being force fed hourly because your body is in a state where it CANNOT afford to lose anything else and this CANNOT be risked.
Also, a truth of eating disorders is how they distort time. I touched in this in my instagram post about this movie, but in the midst of an eating disorder, time does not seem real. Time is just something that has to pass so you can get through another day without eating enough. The time I spent deep in my ED is a blur that I couldn't remember clearly if I tried. Anorexia prevented me from having any sort of fun.
This movie was also TRIGGERING AS HELL. Even as someone who has been recovered and weight restored after my ED and relapse. I won't go into that though.
One more thing is just about the beginning when Ellen is telling her sister all of the calories of the things on her plate. Yes, it's accurate that you can do that when you have ano. You know the calories of literally everything (even bodily fluids like they brought up), BUT it's completely inaccurate that Ellen would share these calorie amounts with anyone. People with ano are secretive AF. They don't and will not share the information they know with anyone, because anything they do is in secret. Many times, nobody will even know they are suffering for a long, long time. I was so good at hiding my ED the first time around that my parents didn't know until I put on shorts for the first time that first spring that it happened.
Now onto the pros:
Many people have been saying that they hated the movie because there was no "glimmer of hope" and nobody truly recovered. This is something that I think makes the movie SO raw and real. When I had my ED, I honestly and truly did not want to recover. I thought my ED was all I had. It was something that I was good at and if I could keep it then I didn't need anything else. This movie accurately depicts those sentiments. Ellen doesn't want to recover, and wholeheartedly believes that she can't. It brought me back because it was so real. Girls in the house still engage in their ED behaviors too, when they are there to be getting better. This is accurate as well. My first time through getting weight restored, I can't tell you how many times I secretly ate under maintenance. It was like a game that made me feel good to trick the doctors, my family, and everyone around me trying to help me heal.
The fact that there is no true recovery in this movie just makes it more real. Many times, recovery doesn't happen. It's horrible and it's sad but it's true. BUT it brings light to how insane of an issue ano really is. It's the mental disease with the highest death rate.
I also think that the aspect of how damaging an ED is to a family was realistic. These parts of the movie made me cry to be honest, because all I could think about was how bad I felt for my family for all that I put them through. The stepmom weighing Ellen especially really hit home, because Ellen even said things like "it's not at zero" so that the stepmom wouldn't believe the number on the scale was true. I did the same exact thing, saying I hadn't had any water that day or whatever I needed to have my doctors and family think that my real weight was higher, when in actuality I had water loaded and picked the heaviest clothes I could find to make the number appear higher.
The sister was saying how whenever she saw pictures of her own graduation, or prom, or anything, she would think "this is when Ellen passed out," or "This is when Ellen did this..." etc. which brought me back to when my own little sister told me "I never know when I see you if you're going to be okay or too skinny." It's absolutely devastating to hear things like that, because you can see just how much your own mental disease affects everyone you love.
I watched this movie before bed, and as I said before it was extremely triggering. I found myself thinking things I shouldn't have been before going to sleep. BUT, when I woke up and thought back on the movie, those thoughts were gone. I was no longer triggered, and all I could think of was how insanely grateful and happy I am that I'm past my ED. I am one of the ones who recovered.
I found myself thankful for my health, my life, and most importantly, the family and friends who stuck with me through the entire process of watching me go from Megan to a ghost of Megan and back again (twice).
If you're asking me if you think you should watch this movie, my answer is that it depends.
If you're someone who thinks you can be easily triggered or are currently suffering from ED, DO NOT WATCH. But, if like me, you're far enough removed that you think you can handle watching and take the whole thing with a grain of salt, then go ahead.
It's hard for me to say if watching this movie as someone who hasn't had ED will give insight to what an ED is actually like, and that's because when I was watching I was taken back to all my own horrible, terrifying memories. To me, that's what made it so powerful and emotional.
If you watch and have things to say, let me know!