Monday, July 17, 2017

To the Bone Netflix Movie Review

To the Bone (2017)

Watch To the Bone on Netflix
Written by: Marti Noxon
Directed by: Marti Noxon
Starring: Lily Collins, Keanu Reees, Leslie Bibb, Alex Sharp, Retta, Lili Taylor
Rated: TV-MA

Anorexic Ellen has spent her teenage years in recovery programs without a solution. She joins a group home with a non-traditional doctor.

Jumping into the mind of someone with anorexia, we see various people suffering with it. It's all consuming and affects family too. Despite the dark subject, this is frequently engaging as conversations feels real and the characters, for brief periods, forget about their circumstances and are just happy. This isn't a fun movie by any means, but it is well made and by avoiding many common tropes it doesn't feel trite. It's a window into something I only knew at a surface level.
Watch it.

This is definitely an indie movie destined for Netflix. It would be hard to market to a mass audience because you just can't make this sound fun or exciting. Despite that, it is a very good movie.

I don't know anything about being anorexic, but this seems very accurate as it portrays small details and delves into how you would see the world if you were anorexic. Ellen can rattle off the calories of everything on her plate.
The characters are detailed well, and we quickly know that Ellen's half sister really cares about her and her step mother is completely out of touch. The step-mother wants to fix it, and gets frustrated when it isn't a one time visit to a doctor. She cares, but only in as much as wanting to fix something broken. It isn't about Ellen directly. She sees it as something Ellen should be able to turn off, and I'm sure she's a stand in for a large portion of the audience.

Ellen ends up in a group home run by a doctor played by Keanu Reeves. It's a home for people struggling with food and just trying to make it. Their perspective of the world is different, and it's not an easy thing to fix. As the movie states, anorexia is similar to an addiction and it's portrayed as such.

I'm curious to know if Keanu's teaching is based on anything substantive. What he says sounds good as he rejects society's views and tries to help his patients see that life is worth living.

This manages to be quite amusing, almost funny, despite how dark the subject matter is. I couldn't help but smile at the date between Ellen, now Eli, and Luke. It was such a pleasant moment in a movie marred by despair. It felt realistic and was darkly amusing as Eli can't fully escape. Avoiding food is so ingrained that she tastes the food, but then spits it out. This movie has a lot of great moments, and this one stands out as it shows how state of life merging with a traditional date.

I would not have believed this movie could make a mother bottle feeding her adult daughter meaningful, but this really makes it something sad and tragic. This is a mother willing to try anything, at the end of her rope, just grasping at straws for anything. She blames herself, but only one person can make the choice to get better.

The end goes a little far with a quick wrap up that includes a dream sequence. It compels Eli to get help and while I get it, I wanted something more introspective. It's hard to convey hitting rock bottom, but this seems to go relatively big in a movie that's been grounded. Riding a bus and seeing her ghostly reflection or something like that works better for me than a desert vision, though the image of her frail body was powerful. Seeing how frail she's become is absolutely the right choice, but I don't want that happening in a dream. I want he to see an image of herself and not realize who it is.

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