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Honest depictions of mental illness and body image issues aren’t something that we come across often in film and television, but it seems that is all about to change in the new Netflix film, To The Bone.
The film stars Lily Collins who plays Ellen, a teenage girl struggling with anorexia. The trailer opens up with a scene about her knowing the exact calorie intake of everything on her plate.
Collins, who battles an eating disorder when she was a teenager, told People, “I’m so proud to have been part of such a powerful and inspiring film that I believe has the potential to make a difference and promote open conversation about a topic so often considered too taboo to discuss.”
From the trailer alone, you are immediately pulled in. Ellen is a likeable character, witty and sarcastic, mixed with a grim outlook on life. Keanu Reeves stars as Ellen’s doctor, William Beckham, stating from the get-go that she has to want to get better for any progress to be made.
This film has an extremely important message behind it as it looks to address the issues surrounding eating disorders. The way people view their body image is something that is almost constantly in doubt. Do I look fat today? Are my legs too skinny compared to the rest of my body? Am I too tall? If I skip lunch, maybe I’ll feel better about myself? These questions are commonly thought when one is concerned about their body image, especially with certain images being showcased in the media.
According to Headspace, about 0.3% of Australian adolescents aged 13 to 18 years have anorexia nervosa. About 0.9% suffer from bulimia and approximately 1.6% suffer from binge eating. These are disorders that effect both men and women.
Collins, who lost weight under medical supervision for the role, was scared it would be something she sank back into, stating:
“At first it was definitely a scary process. It was something that I thought is risky, because there’s a fine line between facing something head-on and succeeding, or falling back into it. But I knew that, this time, I would be held accountable for it. I would be [losing weight] under the supervision of a nutritionist and surrounded by all these amazing women on set. So, I knew that I would be in a safe environment to explore this.”
You can catch To The Bone on Netflix from July 14th.
If you or somebody you know are struggling with an eating disorder or negative body image contact the Butterfly Foundation on 1800 33 4673. Or click here to chat online with someone. If you need immediate medical assistance or are at risk of self harm, contact Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.