To the bone review: From a recovered anorexic

I recently made a post about the trailer of the “To the bone” movie which i had seen and warned those in recovery or even who have recovered to not watch the film as it would most likely be triggering. I didn’t know if i would watch the movie or not, but i decided i would… however i regret that decision. I regret giving the movie 2 more views than it should have because it was not a good movie according to me.

I began watching the movie yesterday but felt myself getting irritated and angry and so turned it off after 30 minutes. Then this evening i decided, i might as well watch it all to know how it ends…. does the girl recover and does the movie maybe get better? And i can’t say that the movie gets better and you don’t even know if the girl recovers or not… if anything i think the movie would have been better if it showed more of the hardships of recovery, of the small steps and choices you have to make to recover. Because i don’t understand how the movie is inspirational in anyway to someone who is in recovery, maybe it shows that “you don’t want to reach this point and end up looking like this”. But from my own experience, if i had watched this movie when i was sick i would have felt very triggered and thought i am not sick enough… i dont have that dark circles under my eyes, i dont look that skinny, i havent fainted that many times…. and yes, that is part of the sick mind, the comparison and never thinking you are sick or skinny enough. I don’t believe that movie would have been any inspiration for me. I don’t belive it is much of an “insight” either for a family or friend who knows someone who is sick.

So where do i even start on this movie? I have so many thoughts to try to formulate and get out.

First off, if you are in recovery, easily triggered or even have had an eating disorder in the past i would not recommend the movie. In general i wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

If you want to know more about eating disorders, watch an actual documentary and not some glamourized movie version which just seemed unrealistic in my opinion.

Lets start off with almost all the characters were thin white girls in the recovery treatment centre. There was one guy and one large black girl who suffered with binge eating. But it once again promotes the idea that only thin white girls have eating disorders when that is not the case at all. I do like the fact that there was a main guy character who also suffered from anorexia as that needs to be more open and more people need to be aware that males suffer from eating disorders as well.

Second, the trigger content in the movie is ALOT. Calorie counting, weight and numbers talk, triggering pictures, eating disorder tricks/habits which could be picked up and used which is the OPPOSITE of helpful. Many scenes in the film made me wonder how and why they added them, of course it shows the TRUTH because it does happen. Movie spolier!: Chewing and spitting, hiding puke, exercising away calories, trying to get rid of things on food to make it less calorific… all of that happens. My family has seen me do all of those things in my own recovery so yes, they happen…. but i also feel like they don’t need to be shown as that could just share those tricks to someone who is already sick/in the first stages of an eating disorder and watches the film.

Third, i know that all treatment centres are different so maybe there are treatment centres which are just like the one showed in the film, but for me… it was never like it was in the movie. The openness, choosing to eat or not, all the talk about food/calories/habits so openly and there didn’t seem to be anyone there with them. That the patients were just there doing their own thing. I know that recovery isn’t just about food and that a person needs to want to recover for themselves i.e forcing them to eat isn’t going to do much if they don’t want to eat, but the meal times felt so strange and not at all how it has been for me in recovery anyway.

Also the unrealisticness of the treatment centre. I don’t know, it just feels like if someone who is sick thinks that they are going to be inpatient and get to choose what and how much they eat, get to exercise in the nights, purge without being noticed and end up falling in love then they will be extremely shocked when they go into inpatient care. But like mentioned, there are many different forms of treatment centres but the ones i have been to, i have been watched like a hawk, not allowed to even go to my room instead have had to sit in a wheel chair and have had activity monitors on me so i don’t exercise during the nights as well as being forced to eat or drink a supplement drink if i dont eat, there was no choice about it. Not to mention that from 8am until around 9pm would be spent in the common room with all the other patients, nurses always watching, or i would be on bedrest with an alarm that would peep if i moved.

I have so many mixed thoughts and anger towards the movie. Anger that i watched the whole, anger that it was made and i don’t see the point in it. If you want to learn more about eating disorders, watch documentaries with real life people who have struggled and recovered, don’t make a glamourized movie which is potentially very triggering. And if you want recovery motivation there are hundreds of people online who have recovered and stories and post and advice to be read to help you feel motivated and want to recover.

I am really hoping this movie gets alot of critique and gets taken down as i believe it is more harmful than positive, though this is just my opinion, maybe there are many people who feel motivated after watching it or get a better understanding of how a person with anorexia thinks/behaves.

Certain scenes i could relate and connect to alot, so it is very accurate in certain scenes and showing the lifelessness, the anger, anxiety and all of that. But i think it would have been better to show her recovery, even if reaching rock bottom is usually where a person begins to finally recover… but i think if it had shown her eating, facing fears, making choices towards life and happiness it might have been more motivational?

A stereotypical and triggering movie… don’t watch it.

The fact that my internet has stopped working is most likely a sign that i shouldnt post this, however i needed to share my thoughts and get this out of my mind and thoughts.


**Note, i was not triggered by the movie i.e numbers, weight, calories and seeing images of skinny people doesn’t trigger me. I was just worried that it would  bring up bad memories and evoke anxiety due to all the bad memories i have of being in hospital. And yes, the movie did make me think of my time in hospital but as it feels so far away i didn’t get any anxiety or feel bad when watching the movie. But for some people, even if they are recovered it might bring up bad memories which is another reason to avoid the film apart from all the other triggers already mentioned, if you are easily triggered by them.

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Laura says:

    I so agree. I let my curiosity get the best of me and watched this yesterday, and I am only about a week in to getting back on track after a lapse with my anorexia (few weeks, so I guess not a full relapse technically?). Anyways, I was not at a point where watching the movie could be helpful to me. But as you mentioned, I don’t see how it could be helpful to anyone. I hate how the film paints one stereotypical narrative of anorexia, and one that is not even accurate to the majority of peoples’ experiences. Anorexia is f*ing lonely, lifeless, and frankly boring. It’s not making these great friends, being snarky/sarcastic, and having adventures. I wish that the isolation and numbness would have been portrayed. It would have made for a more “boring” movie, but at least it would have been accurate. And maybe would show how completely unappealing eating disorders are. I just thought the whole thing was irresponsibly made.


  2. I watched it last night as well and I’m not sure what to think about this movie. I’m definitely not angry, because it’s a fiction, not a documentry, so they can show whatever they want to (unless they actually claimed it’s supposed to be inspirational, but I’m not aware of that). In my opinion it’s a pretty mediocre movie, not realistic, showing a stereotype of anorexia, not anorexia itself. The scene of her dream that changed her attitude was so cheesy and silly… I mean, which ED sufferer had this “one magical moment” that changed their life?! One doesn’t just choose to recover at one point, it’s a long process, painful as hell. And that treatment centre… if such a place exists, it should be closed right now. This girl eating PB with a spoon for every single meal was just ridiculous. Argh.
    However, I don’t think it’s all worth getting angry, it’s just a movie, nothing more.


  3. purrpale says:

    I’m thinking of watching it but after reading your review I think I’m gonna wait until I’m in a better state of mind! So thank you because I was going to actually watch it later on today.


  4. It sounds like the typical “stereotyped/textbook anorexic” to me – from your comments I cannot see that it would be in anyway beneficial to watch either. It is a shame they glamourised ED`s when in reality they are far from that. The film makers would definitely have been better charting the recovery process and actually having a positive outcome to the film. If it was like this then maybe I would have watched it but as it stands – no, I won`t be watching it.


  5. Sam says:

    I am towards the end of recovery and people have told me about this movie, but I am very happy I didn’t watch it. The stereotypical nature of it would have triggered me and I would’ve began comparing. I wish they didn’t make these kinds of movies. You’re absolutely right in that people should just watch documentaries, or real life stories, because there is absolutely nothing glamorous about recovery. It’s very difficult emotionally and physically. I’m sorry you watched it, but thank you for the review and I hope they take it town as well.


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