Netflix Original: To The Bone

15 . Jul . 2017
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Discussing physiques is the favorite pastime of an entire generation. Countless men and women face derogatory comments and slurs because of how they look and now how they behave or are, as a person. In this mix comes medical complications, like aneroxia nervosa, which is basically an eating disorder that causes people to undergo needless weight loss, an illogical fear of weight gain and other such experiences.

To The Bone tells the story of Emilia, an artist of sorts, whose step mother decides to send her to a in-patient facility for people suffering from Anorexia Nervosa. At the facility, she meets and interacts with other people who suffer from this disorder. This film is mainly about Emilia’s experiences and how she battles the disorder.

What’s Wow: To The Bone has many things going for it. It begins as an well made endeavor to show what Aneroxia Nervosa does to people. The initial imagery is un-seeable. The performances, even if a bit too sacchrine, are solid and the audience relates to the characters.

Frankly, what works for the film is that everyone among us either has undergone the trauma of forced diets or know someone who has. Of course, that’s just an inkling of what might happen to a person suffering from said disorder, but we all have an Emilia in our midst – so we know.

Another thing that we liked about To The Bone is that it’s not only about a person’s struggle with AN. The scriptwriter makes it a point to make the character well fleshed out – which in turns creates good secondary and supporting characters. So, there is a estranged family, a complicated step-family, and that’s where the film really grows on you. Some of the sequences really work for the audience. Like the one where Emilia bonds with her step sister and step mother – the solitary humorous moment in the film.

What’s Blah: Films about medical issues are difficult. One wrong depiction and they can enrage people who actually have experienced the medical issue. It wouldn’t be correct to use creative freedom while making films on a sensitive subject.  And unfortunate is the scriptwriter who trivialises the subject. Unfortunately, the second part of To The Bone not just triviliases the subject, but goes as far as to blame the person for the medical condition.

The film first hits the ball out of reality by introducing a medical mumbo jumbo man who is known for curing people of Aneroxia Nervosa. We don’t know who he is, we don’t know what he does, we don’t know what his success rate is. We just know that this guy is as hot as that guy who did the John Wick franchise.

But what’s patently wrong is the treatment (not the medical, the creative) treatment of the main protagonist. What starts as the story of a woman who’s literally a day away from being hospitalised ends as a romantic story of a British and an American. Seriously? Is that’s how a medical drama ends? Even a well thought of Bollywood film doesn’t let love triumph over health.

Parting Shot: To The Bone disappoints with the romance overpowering the medical issue.

Cast:

Lily Collins as Ellen

Keanu Reeves as Dr. William Beckham

Carrie Preston as Susan, Ellen’s stepmother

Lili Taylor as Judy

Alex Sharp as Luke

Liana Liberato as Kelly

Brooke Smith as Olive

Leslie Bibb as Megan

Kathryn Prescott as Anna

Ciara Quinn Bravo as Tracy

Maya Eshet as Pearl

Lindsay McDowell as Kendra

Retta as Lobo

Joanna Sanchez as Rosa

Alanna Ubach as Karen

Directed by: Marti Noxon

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