To the Bone is a Netflix original film, depicting a 20-year-old woman and her persistent struggles through living with an eating disorder-- particularly, anorexia. The already much-discussed feature premiered at Sundance in January and will be available for streaming on July 14 on Netflix. And, like many curious film-lovers, I'm highly anticipating it's release.
Since the news surfaced that actress Lily Collins, would portray the in-depth character seeking treatment for anorexia, there has been a great deal of concern surfacing from those worried the film would be triggering. The issue has been especially prevalent, as Collins herself has previously come forward admitting her struggles with an eating disorder in her teens.
According to writer/director, Marti Noxon, who also overcame anorexia, the motive behind the project is to start a conversation around the taboo topic of eating disorders. But, with every controversial material, comes a plethora of concerns emerging from parents, teachers, healthcare professionals, and even those who have recovered or are continuing to battle an the harmful disorder. Just like another popular Netflix original show, 13 Reasons Why, many fear that the film might glamorize the disease, while simultaneously trying to raise awareness.
A large amount of concern steams from the fact that 28-year-old Collins lost a dramatic amount of weight to portray the 20-year-old anorexic patient.
Collins opened up to the Edit magazine about her frail figure, “There’s a scene where I’m taking my clothes off to be weighed by Carrie Preston, my stepmom in the movie, who takes a photo on her phone and shows it to me. I didn’t think she’d actually take one but she did. I saw myself in the photo and my heart dropped.”
I'd like to think of myself as a strong person, with the days of my struggles far behind me - but the truth is, this couldn't be further from the truth. I worry about other people who have battled through an eating disorder, because I noticed the way my thoughts began to shift, 10 seconds into watching the trailer. I dont miss going through the horrible emotional rollercoaster that once consumed my life, but we all know how the mind can start to play tricks on you and cling on to what seems familiar. In fact, the first thing I did after watching the preview was google the diet Collin's followed to become that thin.
FLARE Magazine recently spoke to Dr. Laird Birmingham, a Vancouver-based psychiatrist and eating disorder specialist, about the film's portrayal of anorexia. He explains that when someone with a history of eating disorders sees destructive eating patterns or harsh images, such as Collin's frail body, it can provoke a subconscious reaction that triggers their fear of gaining weight. The article goes on to note Birmingham's insight, that most anorexia nervosa patients do not fully recover. In fact, research has shown that an estimated 40 percent of patients relapse within their first year of recovery.
With all this being said, as an adult woman who enjoys watching films, I have made the conscious decision to tune in; however, I know that if it becomes overwhelming, I can always turn the screen off. Like the many critics have been warning, please watch this film with caution.
What do you think of the upcoming Netflix original film? Do you plan on tuning in? Let me know in the comments below.
If you, or anyone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please seek help. Here are a few resources:
Toll FREE 1-866-633-4220 Toronto 416-340-4156
Sheena's Place: 416-927-8900
To the Bone streams on Netflix from Friday.