Ellen is an unruly 20-year-old anorexic girl who spent the better half of her teenage years being shepherded through various recovery programs, only to find herself several pounds lighter every time. Determined to find a solution, her dysfunctional family agrees to send her to a group home for youths, which is led by a non-traditional doctor. Surprised by the unusual rules, Ellen must discover for herself how to confront her addiction and attempt self-acceptance.
I’m just going to start by saying that when this movie ended, I was surprised, because surely there had to be more. But no, I was left with what is commonly called an open ending. I don’t usually like these endings, but for some reason it worked.
To The Bone explores the story of Ellen and the mental illness that she struggles with – anorexia. She is submitted into a group home where she finds herself surrounded by people just like her, except completely different.
Something that really stood to me is that they didn’t try and glamourise anorexia. They didn’t try and romanticise the idea of being unhealthily skinny. They made it very clear that being that thin is in no way good, and showed how badly it affects people.
An important aspect of the story was the family. How this illness affected them and what they went through – mainly her sister – knowing that Ellen was slowly killing herself every day.
The interesting thing about this movie, is that it shows a different way of recovery. Its not some story where she’s sick, she goes to this group home, and then she is better. Ellen doesn’t even really consider recovery until she hits rock bottom.