Ok, so a little bit of background for those that have no idea what I am talking about. Netflix has just released the trailer for their upcoming film ‘to the bone’ about a 20-year-old anorexia sufferer who goes for treatment.
So let’s begin with the title itself. One of the biggest issues with the presentation of eating disorders, especially anorexia, is the idea that you have to be thin, skeletal, ‘to the bone’ to be diagnosed or struggling and this is frankly UNTRUE. If you see those suffering or those providing support you will see that they are permantly fighting to change this stigma and it is so saddening that even the title reinforces it.
This of course is triggering to sufferers. Eating disorders are competitive and indivduals could hence feel they need to compare themselves to Ellen (the main character played by Lily Collins). The title is triggering, the first scene where she is counting calories is triggering, every single aspect is triggering. I could explain each bit seperately but frankly its gross and I do not wish to think about it further. When you are in the depths of an eating disorder it is VERY common to be actively engaging and subsequently want to trigger yourself or simply just find out more about the illness. This therefore means that the audience of this film will have a high percentage of sufferers and this could be extremely detrimental to them.
Awareness needs to be made around mental illness and I commend Netflix for trying but given their previous mistakes with 13 reasons why it is unacceptable that they didn’t try harder with this. They did not speak to sufferers and frankly neurotypical individuals should be the only ones involved in things like this. People who struggled or have struggled should be involved in this process.
Lily Collins does however have a history of eating disorders and it ponders the question why did she get involved in the film? Did she not realise how detrimental it could be? Is she struggling herself and therfore partook for the wrong reasons? and frankly it appears she lost weight to play the part and that is NOT ok! (EDIT: I have just been informed that Lily worked with a team to regain the weight she lost and felt that this experience helped her face the issue face on. This is of course good to know but I still stand by my points.)
I must say you can not see much from the trailer but if the movie itself follows suit then the presentation of her hospitalisation is horrendous too. It makes it appear as though its all fun and games and simply glorifies it. And honestly no – it is not like that at all.
There is no aspect of this that is good in how its raising awareness. I assume there will be a positive ending but that is NOT enough of a reason to make it ok to publish. If you scroll through twitter or Instagram you will see hundreds of sufferers saying how unacceptable or triggering it is and they need to be heard! This movie should not be released.