Will ‘To the Bone,’ Netflix’s New Film On Anorexia, Help Or Hurt People With Eating Disorders?

By Martha Ross
The Mercury News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Some are concerned that Netflix’s new film, “To the Bone” could be the next “Thirteen Reasons Why.” That is, another Netflix movie accused of romanticizing self-destructive and potentially lethal thinking and behavior among teens and young people.

The Mercury News

In the new Netflix film, “To the Bone,” up-and-coming young star Lily Collins plays Ellen, a 20-year-old woman with anorexia who is starving herself to death because she has come to believe that she can never been thin enough.

The film won’t be released for streaming until July 14, but it’s already creating quite a stir.

Some groups say this major motion picture could offer an opportunity to start an important national discussion about eating disorders, what the national nonprofit Project Heal calls “the most stigmatized, misunderstood and under-recognized of all mental illnesses.”

But others worry that “To the Bone” could be the next “Thirteen Reasons Why.” That is, another Netflix movie accused of romanticizing self-destructive and potentially lethal thinking and behavior among teens and young people.

“To the Bone,” which also stars Keanu Reeves as Collins’ caring but unconventional doctor, isn’t out yet, so it’s difficult for many to assess how truthfully and responsibly, or not, the movie deals with a serious and complicated topic.

An estimated 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating or some other eating disorder at some point in their life, according to the National Association of Eating Disorders. Moreover, anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder.

On its own, the “To the Bone” trailer, released last month, intensified discussion on social media over whether the film will provide dangerous behavioral “triggers” for people deep in the disease or struggling to recover. Some found the trailer to be worrisome:

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