When '13 Reasons Why' first premiered on Netflix, there was much controversy about whether it glamorized suicide or not.
Unfortunately, the argument normally leaned to the glamorized side. Then, when the trailer of To The Bone was made public, there were a lot of concerns that it would be the same scenario. Now that it has premiered, and we have had time to watch and digest the movie, I am part of the population who don't believe it showcased the glamorous side of anorexia at all.
This movie does not only showcase the struggle and the life of anorexia. It also includes an accurate portrayal of her mental state, her family, causes of her disease, and her necessary components of healing.
It shows the main character as a whole person, and the effects of the eating disorder on all of those things together.
In the trailer of the movie, it showed a part of the movie that really confused viewers. It was the main character, showcasing her knowledge of calories within specific foods. One can see where this would be a fine line of glamor and reality. However, once watching the movie, this scene is anything but glamour. You can see around her, her sisters face and how that clearly negatively impacted her, and that alone can turn away any glamour of the disease.
Next, in the treatment facility, you would imagine that those who are struggling with the eating disorder are happy with their bodies or their current situation, right? Wrong. All of them are miserable. They all know that they are sick, they all know that they look terrible. However, it is clear that there is something wrong with them. Happiness within their illness is something that does not happen from this movie.
Early in the film, there is a scene where Ellen is at the doctors, and he examines her back only to notice the excessive bruising on her spine. He then says:
"You must do a lot of sit-ups, huh?"
This scene itself shows the self-abuse that goes on, and just how common that is within this disease because her doctor knew exactly what it was from without question. This is not glamour.
Lastly, the film has a scene that is especially moving, and shows her families lack of knowledge about her disease. It is when she is in treatment, and is in a meeting with her family. Her sister inspiringly says "just eat!" as if that is the cure to her disease. Her sister plays a large part of this, because she is seemingly the only one who cares. Coming from an absent father and unattached mother, it is hard to find concrete family members.
This lack of knowledge and empathy from her entire family clearly only adds to her disorder. However, her sister is able to create some light and highlights Ellen's importance to her in an emotional scene where she expresses that Ellen won't only be losing her life, but she would be losing her sister. It is clear that her disease is no longer just hurting her, but those around her as well. It has planted a deep, painful seed that just seems to continue to manifest.
To The Bone accomplishes everything that it sought out to accomplishing. It holds true to the disease of anorexia, and shows the parts of the disease that is hard to talk about. When it comes to glamorous, this movie is far from it.