Film Review: Netflix`s “To the Bone” (2017) ★★★★


Lily Collins is an excellent young actress who constantly works on herself to improve her acting ability, and to strengthen that statement, Netflix’s To The Bone can be used as evidence. In order to portray Ellen,  Lilly Collins had to drop 22 pounds, which I must say, may not have been so significant if the performance she delivered was not as impactful as her physical look in the movie.

Ellen is a young woman who battles anorexia for a long amount of time. And it seems she does not want to correct her health condition until the moment when her stepmother and her stepsister convince her to enter a private clinic to go through medical treatment… However, when that happens, Ellen does a little to open herself for challenges ahead. But the unconventional method of treating anorexia by Dr. William Beckham makes Ellen to face the main problem that caused this disease – herself.

To be fair, what the thinking and analytical viewer will take away from To the Bone is that we all can spend a fortune on any health center but nobody can fix the problem if the individual that needs help doesn’t want it. Ellen is a very interesting character to follow. She is reserved in her own world. She is intelligent but very troubled deep in her mind. Every time when she eats food, she chews it and spits out.

When that happens at a very critical moment of the life, for instance when she already knows what might be expected of her if she doesn’t stop destroying herself, she still continues contributing significantly towards her seemingly inevitable end. But while that end is yet to come, Ellen meets many people during her journey that show her that she is not alone in her problems… But in reality, she was and would always be without determination and willingness to fight against the inner fear.

Keanu Reeves as Dr. William Beckham looked solid and believable. His calm and cool approach as a doctor was influencing, but not as big as the contribution by Carrie Preston as Ellen’s stepmother or Lily Taylor as Ellen’s mother. Both women embrace Ellen, give her the needed support and open a gate for her to enter any time whenever she feels she is willing to live life to the fullest. But as a viewer you must prepare yourself for the most dramatic and emotional part of the film when the last twenty minutes of it will be crucial and life-changing not only for Ellen, but for anyone who suffers from anorexia in real life.

In conclusion, Marti Noxon’s To The Bone is a powerful drama with decent performances. It provides food for thought. It’s a film when you care about the characters as if they were real. You try to understand Ellen’s reasons and don’t even judge her. But in the end, the patience and understanding of what life is, is an important step towards big changes when it works right to the bone. And it does. And it will for you as well, I am certain of that.


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