My last movie recommendation was a comedy and today I want to introduce a semi-different genre to your watch list.
To The Bone was released on Netflix this summer and it has created quite a stir. The movie follows a girl, Ellen or Eli played by Lily Collins, diagnosed with anorexia and her discovery of the connection between her family, friends and herself. Through the help of an unconventional doctor, Dr. Beckham played by Keanu Reeves, the main character slowly links the meaning of each connection to the cause of her condition.
I feel like anorexia and eating disorder are tough topics to break into. Most people still treat it as a taboo and something unusual to talk about. In fact, there is just no right way to talk about it. And when they do talk about it, my God, I really want to beat some sense into these people because of the judgmental nonsense coming from them. People with eating disorders are scared to even bring it up because they feel ashamed, guilty, or they just don’t know how. That is why To The Bone gives better examples for the dos and don’ts when approaching this topic. I think we can learn a thing or two from this.
For example, Eli’s stepmother tried to “help” Eli by showing the picture of Eli in her underwear while asking questions “do you see what you look like? Do you think it’s beautiful?” to which Eli replies “Yes” and “No.” The stepmom’s action makes me think she’s just a bully. Shaming someone like that because if their condition is NOT ok! Patients need help, not to be bullied. Which is why I like Dr. Beckham’s approach as he treats Eli with care and respect. He doesn’t see her as a problematic child like others.
The first high point of the movie is when Eli says “I’m sorry that I’m not a person anymore. I’m a problem.” I remember feeling the emotion that was bottled up inside Eli exploded at this moment. You really need to watch this scene to see how it triggers Eli to say such heartbreaking thing.
It is not easy to understand one another. And I’m not saying you need to fully understand a person, but try to be in their shoes before judging or labeling them. It is very hard to go such length. Any person you know could suffer from anorexia and if you really care for them, you may want to follow the examples that To The Bone shows in the movie. What are the examples, you ask? Watch it and see if it makes sense to you.
The usual approach in every movie is victimizing the patient and the patient will eventually pity herself because of her condition. To The Bone gives a fresher perspective to look at anorexia. Eli is portrayed like a rose with many thorns to protect herself. She is not’s self-pitied. She is strong, but not strong enough to fight the trauma she got from a dark accident which made her anorexic. Eli’s witty and sarcastic remarks throughout the movie are my main highlight. I can’t help but agree with her humor and I find the way she defends herself very interesting.
You might think talking about anorexia and eating disorder is not funny business, but I disagree. Simple jokes break the heavy mood and create hope. At least that is my take on this movie. A friend used to say “if you can’t laugh about yourself and your problem, you just don’t want to deal with it.” Life is too big to make it a serious operation all the time. From a personal experience, embracing your weakness is how you will grow with life – I can guarantee that much.
Another scene that I also like a lot is the rain room scene where Dr.Beckham asked his patients “Why are we here?” Why do you think he took them to the rain room?
I like this scene not just because of the meaning, but also because of the artistic view of it. The way that the director tells the story through the sound, music, lighting, camera angle and action is very inspiring and well positioned. It’s hard to find the right word to describe it. The sensation I experienced was incredibly inspiring and I guarantee it won’t disappoint you.
There is one quote that I like so much from Dr. Beckham is “Fuck fault. Fault and blame have no place here. Only how you wanna live, moving forward.” It feels so real and so endearing to me. Life always moves forward, not backward, or stands still. Within the structure of the scene, when I heard this quote, I felt motivated, hopeful, angry, humored, and empathy. Do you want to know why? You should watch it to experience it for yourself.
As much as I like the story, I can’t just leave the acting aside. Lily Collins is a good actress, but I haven’t seen any movie of her that she really shines through. This one is an exception. Maybe it’s because she had personally experienced eating disorder in her early 20s that this role is created for her to portray. Lily’s Eli might be viewed as an eccentric millennial who seeks attention from people, but to me, she is the embodiment of the struggle to find the meaning of life nowadays.
One of her quotes in the movie that resonates with me so well is “people say they love you, but what they mean is they love how loving you makes them feel about themselves.” It sounds so right, but also wrong at the same time. Society nowadays does not seem to hold the true value of love and appreciation. Everything works in the hand of convenience and love can be a luxury sometimes when honesty is not affordable to everyone.
This is just my own experience and thoughts on To The Bone. If you’re looking for a good movie to watch and in the mood for some serious topic with a kick of comedy, I strongly recommend To The Bone. If the heavy material is not your thing and you’re looking to unwind a stressful day, I say steer clear until you’re ready for it. The movie has received mixed criticism because of the strong topic it covers. Not many people like to discuss such thing so I think you should keep an open mind while watching this movie. Other than that, the Netflix collection is in your hands, my friends.
I’ll see you in my next blog!