It has been a while…
I have now graduated from Bournemouth University with a First Class Honours degree in Media Production. All that hard work really paid off, I am so proud of myself and could not be any happier. Now, graduation awaits. I am both sad and glad that it is all over, I will miss university greatly but I also think I am ready to be an adult now. I feel old, for sure, but I am definitely excited for the new opportunities that will be coming my way. Now that university is over, I have a lot more freedom and time on my hands so I can get back in to the swing of blogging. Finally, hoorah.
Two days ago To The Bone was released on Netflix, I had watched the trailer a month ago and I was a little bit apprehensive about the film. I watched a few videos and read a few articles that suggested the film was glamourising eating disorders, and to be honest from watching the trailer I slightly agreed with them. Although, I did not want to pre-judge the film based upon it’s trailer, because a 2 minute trailer does not represent the film as a whole. Upon doing more research, I discovered that both the actress who played Eli (Lily Collins) and the director (Marti Nixon) had both suffered from eating disorders in the past. The film was made by people who understand what it feels like to suffer from an eating disorder and created for the purpose of not only educating people and sparking discussion, but also showing those suffering that light can be found in the darkness.
The film was an emotional rollercoaster for me. It was raw, dark and real. The film follows the journey of Eli, a girl suffering from severe Anorexia, who has been through several recovery programmes. The film focuses on several parts of Eli’s life including: her relationships, her disorder and her treatment/therapy. Throughout the film, her life gets more and more fragile and you watch the character erode away until she is virtually a ghost. Many people believe that Anorexia is just about getting thin, but it is not, it is an illness that makes you believe that you will never, ever be good enough.
Whilst Eli is in the treatment centre, she meets several of the other characters (all suffering from eating disorders) and she forms a special relationship with one of the boys there, Luke. Luke and Eli both have a great sense of humour, and I found myself completely falling in love with them as a pair. Luke helps Eli, and many of the other characters, to feel comforted and pushes them to be above their illnesses. Eli becomes friendly with the others in the centre but there are points in the film where she lashes out and you question how she actually feels about them.
Eli’s relationship with her family is very broken, her dad is virtually non-existent, her step-mother does not understand her, her mother and her mothers girlfriend live far away and struggle with Eli and her Anorexia, and the only proper connection that Eli has is with her sister. Although some of Eli’s relationships make her feel very alone, there are moments with each of the family members that show that they deeply love and care for her. In the end, these selection of loving moments that Eli has bring her the strength to fight through her struggles.
The film did not glamourise eating disorders in any way, it showed the brutal and horrific reality of them. It did not shy away from any details. The writers and director wanted to show the audience what it is really like and how it really feels to have an eating disorder. The repetitive habits that Eli has in the film represent the constant thoughts that never go away with victims of Anorexia. Her mind never stops thinking of how she could be burning calories. Her sister says that Eli has ‘Calorie Asperges’ as she can look at a plate of food and know exactly how many calories she will be consuming. Little things like this that occur throughout the film allow the viewer to understand how consuming the disease is.
Whilst watching To The Bone it all felt very real. I usually find it difficult to really relate to a film, but I became so engaged in the story and the characters that it felt like I was genuinely watching Eli’s life, as if she were a real person. The light-hearted moments in the film brought all the characters down to earth and made them seem so realistic, and the sad moments make you realise their pain and suffering. I feel so incredibly grateful for my life and have learnt that my problems are so minuscule in comparison to others. The film has truly taught me to be kind and selfless. You do not know who’s life you may change by doing so. Although it may be difficult for everybody at times, it is so important to treasure life, for it is so precious and there is no point in wasting it.