Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Movie Review: "To the Bone" (2017)

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Movie"To the Bone"
Director: Marti Noxon
Year: 2017
Rating: TV-MA
Running Time: 1 hour, 47 minutes

A woman battling anorexia is placed in a new inpatient program with a psychiatrist who takes a different approach to her problem.

"To The Bone" is a drama written and directed by Marti Noxon and is said to be inspired by her own struggles with an eating disorder. It stars Lily Collins as Ellen, a 20-year-old artist who has been struggling with anorexia for most of her life. She has been through many programs and treatments but has never kicked her destructive habit. Her latest attempt to beat her disease is at a treatment facility with Dr. Beckham, played by Keanu Reeves, who takes a different approach to treating eating disorders in a 'pull no punches' environment where he never sugar coats the truth. Dr. Beckham's goal is to teach those in his program to love life and know that it's worth living. He also stresses that if his patients don't change their ways, they will most assuredly die.

There has been a bit of controversy surrounding "To the Bone" since its release. Many have called it irresponsible, stating that it glorifies eating disorders. We personally don't agree with that statement, but we will say we don't believe it fully portrays the dangers of eating disorders in the most severe way. This film feels very much like a 'movie of the week' selection over on the Lifetime channel. It attempts to tackle a pertinent topic which afflicts a lot of women and men of any age group. This movie, unfortunately, never takes any huge risks in its portrayal.

We do think Lily Collins does a solid job as Ellen. She clearly prepared for the part by becoming overly emaciated for the role. In addition to a bit of shadowing makeup used to accentuate her every space between every bone to make her appear even gaunter and paler than she really is, Collins is scary skinny here. Ellen has had a lot of drama and emotional pain in her young life and has learned to take care of herself. Because of this, she has a know-it-all type attitude with a massive chip on her shoulder. She often walks around feeling sorry for herself and hating the world, which only makes her disease get worse and worse to the point where now, she has hit rock bottom. Luckily, Collins' portrayal saves the movie from being completely dismal and lifeless. The highlight of this film for us, however, is Alex Sharp, who plays Luke, one of the members of Dr. Beckham's treatment house. This character brings a much-needed lightness to an otherwise serious film. He offers moments of levity with his quick wit and dorky charm, though he does insert himself into situations that get a bit uncomfortable and creepy due to his persistent forwardness.

Overall, we found "To the Bone" to be a rather basic, often poorly paced drama that doesn't take enough risks for our liking. As fats, we are not the intended viewing audience as we have always the opposite problem, but that doesn't mean we can't understand and sympathize with the characters and their deep-seeded issues. We did struggle to maintain interest, and the movie only has one or two moments at the end where it gets truly interesting and/or creative. Other than that, we feel this film winds up being rather forgettable, though is mostly inoffensive.
My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 71%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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