To the Bone arrives on the streaming service this Friday (July 14), depicting the story of one woman's struggle with anorexia nervosa. The film was directed by Marti Noxon, and it stars Lily Collins as a 20-year-old woman who seeks treatment for her eating disorder from an unconventional doctor (played by Keanu Reeves).
Both Noxon and Collins have publicly spoken about their own respective battles with eating disorders, arguing that visibility of the diseases in a film like To the Bone can be beneficial by starting wider conversations about an often taboo topic that effects a lot of people. (The National Eating Disorder Information Centre estimates that between 600,000 and 990,000 Canadians suffer from an eating disorder.)
"My goal with the film was not to glamorize EDs, but to serve as a conversation starter about an issue that is too often clouded by secrecy and misconceptions," Noxon wrote on Twitter last month. She added, "I hope that by casting a little light into the darkness of this disease we can achieve greater understanding and guide people to help if they need it."
Collins, has also previously opened up about her own battle with an eating disorder, and encouraged urged her Instagram followers: "Dont be afraid to start necessary conversations discussing important mental health illnesses that are still considered quite taboo."
Meet Ellen from #TheTheBone. A brave young woman embarking on her journey of survival. On July 14, be part of her story — one that's extremely unique but also similar to thousands of others out there. Dont be afraid to start necessary conversations discussing important mental health illnesses that are still considered quite taboo. Together we are never alone...
A spokesperson for NEDIC, however, has warned that the film could encourage dangerous behaviour amongst at-risk viewers. "It can maybe show people who might be struggling with dieting or disordered eating — not quite a full-blown eating disorder — show them methodology or ways to engage in behaviour that would make things worse, which is really, really dangerous," Marbella Carlos told the Canadian Press.
Some battling an eating disorder of their own, however, are looking forward to the film. "I want to watch it because as someone who has an eating disorder, I hope to see myself portrayed, because it's such a taboo," said 22-year-old Belgian woman Zaineb El Khayati.
She continued to say that she hopes that the film helps break the taboo, and might allow her family to better understand her own struggles.
Twenty-seven-year-old UK woman Hope Virgo, who battled anorexia for four years as a teenager, is worried about the disorders Hollywood depiction, though.
"I think [the trailer] makes eating disorders look like kind of a fun thing to have and that it makes it look exciting and that people do it for attention," she told the Canadian Press. "Also the comments that Lily Collins made about her losing that much weight in a healthy way [for the role] doesn't make sense, because you can't lose that much weight in a healthy way. If you're that underweight, then it's unhealthy."
She suggests that those who might be triggered by To the Bone watch it with someone else, talk about it afterwards and then seek treatment if needed.
For anyone struggling with an eating disorder, information and access to treatment can be found via NEDIC.
The trailer for To the Bone can be watched below.