To the Bone movie poster
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To the Bone
To the Bone movie poster

To the Bone Movie Review

Now available on Blu-ray and DVD (Buy on Amazon)

Who knew the solution to anorexia was John Wick. The eating disorder drama To the Bone takes an inside look at life in an in-patient treatment center and serves as a vehicle for Lily Collins to flex her nearly non-existent muscles as a young woman struggling to overcome serious illness. Keanu Reeves co-stars as her take-no-bullshit therapist.

The movie is decent enough—well-acted and moderately entertaining—though it lacks the meat, muscle and emotion to contend with top-tier dramas. It’s well made, but even some oddly placed dream sequences in the third act can’t save the film from feeling undeniably generic.

But I didn’t watch To the Bone (a Netflix Exclusive) with bigger expectations—I watched To the Bone because my wife is a psychotherapist who specializes in eating disorders, and began her career working at an in-patient treatment center for people with severe eating disorders. While in the moment she largely liked the movie, her final grade aligns with mine: an unimpressive C+.

Her reactions:

  • “As an eating disorder specialist, there was a lot I didn’t care for.” (but there were many things she felt were relatively accurate, such as the portrayal of how family members deal with such situations)
  • “The story itself left a lot to be desired.”
  • “For a movie marketed as being about an anorexic woman who works with an ‘unconventional doctor,’ the treatment shown is very conventional.”

She also notes that Keanu Reeves is barely in the movie, which means To the Bone spends more time focused on the patients than the treatment itself. To that end, the movie is fine, but writer/director Marti Noxon struggles to tap into the emotional vein of her story; it’s hard to get too emotionally invested in Collins’ character, and the rest of the characters range from underdeveloped to downright obnoxious (Alex Sharp). While Reeves isn’t known as the most dynamic of actors, the film would have benefited by using him more.

To the Bone does a decent job of depicting a very serious, real and often misunderstood condition, but the movie fails to get truly under the skin of the subject matter.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

C+
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