To the Bone

Controversy behind movie brings awareness to anorexia


Photo by Victoria Van


Story by Lindsey Egger, Viewpoint Editor

Staring at her plate, she counts all the calories in her head and decides to be done eating. She goes for a jog and does sit ups until her back is bruised. She is not satisfied until she can fit her whole hand around her bicep, but it’s never enough.

Lily Collins’s role as an anorexic woman, Ellen, was just as inspiring as it was disturbing in her new Netflix movie. “To the Bone” raised awareness to a sensitive condition by showing viewers the lives of anorexic people in a group home, the frail body of Collins, and the family’s hurt as they watch their child dying right in front of them.

Just like “13 Reasons Why,” this Netflix movie has stirred up controversy on whether they are glorifying what they’re trying to raise awareness for. Viewers find that Collins had to lose so much weight for the role even though she has a past of struggling with anorexia. This only makes her more fit for the role and she made it clear that she gained the weight right back with the help of a nutritionist.

“There was no number of pounds I was being told to lose. There was never an end result that they wanted me to attain,” Collins said. “This was me as an actor entering a role, choosing to portray the character in a way that I felt emotionally needed to.”

Netflix has proven it is hard to make a movie about sensitive topics without receiving plenty of negative comments afterwards. The movie is based on the writer, Marti Noxon’s, real life experience with anorexia, so this movie has the exact criteria needed for making a movie on such illness: experience. Neither the director nor Collins would glorify a battle they’ve both fought.

“To the Bone” made sure to include every aspect of the healing process. The producers made sure to let viewers know that this doesn’t stem from just women but also men by including a male character in the group home. More controversy comes from this when there is a little romance between Ellen and Alex Sharp’s character, Luke. Some critics see it as romanticizing the subject and some see it as making the movie more realistic and relatable. These characters have lives and with those lives comes some romance, so there should not be hate on the few minutes of flirtation in the movie.

People should stop thinking about the movie’s glorification of an eating disorder and just watch it as a movie that is starting a conversation that needs to be had. This movie is emotional but also funny with a hint of dark humor every now and then. It has been blown out of proportion by people who look for anything to raise an argument about controversial topics.

The show is just one way people are raising awareness for anorexia, but the only way to help everyone is to speak up. Anorexia is a battle that at least 30 million people in the U.S. fight every day. One of five anorexia related deaths is from suicide and should be taken very seriously and with care. These people not only struggle with a physical threat to their life, but as well as a mental struggle. If you or someone you know is battling anorexia call (630)577-1330.