Important Lessons from "To the Bone" Movie

"To the Bone" is a Netflix drama/comedy written and directed by Marti Noxon. The movie starring Lily Collins and Keanu Reeves is about a young girl struggling with an eating disorder. Claims that Marti’s movie promotes eating disorders have been discussed heavily on social media, deterring many people (myself included) from watching. However, I ended up viewing the film to form my own thoughts and here’s what I learned from To the Bone. (Minor spoilers ahead).

An answer to “What's the Point” question

There’s a moving scene where Ellen, an anorexia nervosa sufferer (Lily Collins) tells Dr. Beckham (Keanu Reeves) that she doesn't see the point. Her doctor responds with absolute sincerity giving Ellen what she needed to hear, not what she wanted to hear.

“There is no point. Or, at least, big picture, we don't get to know what it is. Why we live...I can't reassure you. This idea you have, that there's a way to be safe, it's childish and cowardly. It stops you from experiencing anything, including anything good...You know how (not to be messed up). Stop waiting for life to be easy. Stop hoping for somebody to save you. You don't need another person lying to you. Things don't all add up, but you are resilient. Face some hard facts and you could have an incredible life.” - Keanu Reeves in "To the Bone"

Understanding of what sufferers go through

The film shows how people suffer differently and that everybody's journey is different. It portrays a percentage of what eating disorder sufferers endure. It might be uncomfortable to watch, but it’s important. That way, we can understand and not judge others harshly. "To the Bone" shows that telling someone “just eat” will not cure them of the disease. It’s not that simple. The disease is mental and physical. Just like people can't treat addiction in one day by "quitting," they also can't treat an eating disorder by "eating."

People should stop saying "Eat a Burger"

what I learned from To the Bone

what I learned from To the Bone

I feel pain for those who get bullied online daily. I hate the expression "eat a burger". Some people think it's okay to call someone skinny, to call them a twig or to ask jokingly, are you anorexic? Are you sick?. However, they say these things without knowing if someone has an eating disorder or not. They don’t know their story. And even if they did, making people hate their bodies to fit beauty standards will not help. I don't even have an eating disorder, and I was told to eat a burger all my life. People bullied me for being small. I grew up fatigued, malnutrition and poor. People made me hate my body without knowing what was going on at home. 

Guys also struggle with eating disorders

Luke (Alex Sharp) is a charming, English performer who suffers from anorexia. His progressive recovery makes his housemates a little jealous - sometimes angry. But he ends up being a positive impact on Ellen. Even though the movie didn’t dig deep into Luke's eating disorder history, it was still good to have a male character to demonstrate that eating disorders affect men too.

There's hope

Ellen’s near-death experience and a mended relationship with her mother seem to have put the young woman on the right path. I hope this movie helps someone in need, but most importantly I hope it opens people's eyes to eating disorders so they can treat people better when they don't know their full story. I have so much love and sympathy for people with eating disorders. We need to love them, respect them and tell them that they are worthy of feeling good and being happy. I think "To the Bone" is an excellent movie with an important message. Even if the film didn't portray eating disorders perfectly as some critics say, Marti Noxon wrote and directed an excellent film reflecting on her own journey with an eating disorder, something that deserves respect.