The film, which stars Lily Collins, follows the story of Ellen, a young woman with anorexia, as she reluctantly enters a treatment facility and bonds with her fellow patients. While undergoing treatment, Ellen is introduced to a doctor, played by Keanu Reeves, who, through his unconventional methods, helps her come to terms with her illness and the treatment process.
Criticism came after the trailer for the movie premiered, with some users suggesting that the film preview should have included trigger warnings.
Taking to Twitter, the film’s director, Marti Noxon, has responded to any backlash by sharing her own personal story as an eating disorder survivor.
“Having struggled with Anorexia and Bulimia well into my 20s, I know firsthand the struggle, isolation and shame a person feels when they are in the grips of this illness,” Noxon wrote. “In an effort to tell this story as responsibly as we could, we spoke with other survivors and worked with Project Heal throughout the production in the hopes of being truthful in a way that wasn’t explosive.”
The director went on to explain how, as with all mental health struggles, having an eating disorder is a unique experience, and that To The Bone hopes to tell just one story out of the millions of stories that can be told.
“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,” she said. “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.”
Like Noxon, Lily Collins has shared her experiences with eating disorders, and the actress also responded to people’s concerns about the film.
“I completely understand your concerns and I think you’ll be surprised by what we’ve created,” she wrote, replying to a user on Twitter.
Of course, given how sensitive, difficult, and triggering discussing eating disorders can be, it’s understandable why people may have concerns about To The Bone and whether the movie will actually be a useful tool to help further conversations around eating disorders. We hope the movie will help break down the stigmas attached to these disorders, as well.
To The Bone premieres on Netflix on July 14th.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder and are looking for support, you can contact the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. For a 24-hour crisis line, text “NEDA” to 741741.