To The Bone (REVIEW)
This film is not for the faint of heart that much is clear. It even starts with a warning about how disturbing it can be to watch and I would tend to agree. From the first few moments it has this level of tension as you seen Ellen, a very gaunt looking 20 year old who can with perfect accuracy tell you the calories in everything on her plate. She goes in her room and painfully does sit ups to the point of her bruising her spine all in the name of calorie burn.
Lily Collins is extraordinary in this. Not just because of the frankly horrifying weight loss (to which she said if she could have snapped her fingers and gained 10 pounds she would have) but in portraying this girl who finds the very idea of swallowing food a struggle. The pain in her eyes is evident but her sheer panic of eating and thinking she won't be able to stop as a reason to push through the pain is heartbreaking. There are several scenes where I was in tears as I watched this girl wrestle with the fact that she spends all her time worried that her arms will get too fat and when she is hungry draws food instead of eating it. All the while everyone else is afraid she may die from malnutrition. Some people said that this is a story that tries to glamorize anorexia, it most definitely does not. If anything it feels like a horror film. It's just heartbreak after heartbreak watching these people self destruct and have to pick up the pieces again.
The rest of the cast fill out a support group of equally struggling people who's goals in life are all different but hinge on the same idea that they need to get over their eating disorder so that they can move on with their lives. We see the ups and downs of various characters and get some hard truths along the way. Keanu Reeves as the main counselor plays a no nonsense doctor who just tries to say things like they are and you can take it or leave it. I'm not sure if I 100% agree with that tactic but I understand his motivations for doing so. Not everyone is on the mend in the center Ellen goes to and her home life isn't doing her much good either and seeing her stuck in the middle of silly family drama when there are much more pressing matters at hand is infuriating and that is exactly how they want you to feel.
This film doesn't flinch for a second. It stays strong in its message and does not let up. The performances were excellent, with Lily Collins commanding an iron grip over my anxiety towards her character. It's a straight forward story about dealing with something that is all consuming, and having to as an audience member, sit their helpless as people try to find the path that will lead them back to safety when they are standing on the edge of destruction.