New Netflix film ‘To The Bone’ criticised for potentially ‘glamourising anorexia’

Mental health experts have argued that the movie could be triggering to vulnerable viewers

A new Netflix film has been criticised by mental health experts who say that it could risk “glamourising” and “trivialising” anorexia.

To The Bone will be released via the streaming service on July 14. It stars Lily Collins as “an unruly, 20-year-old young woman with anorexia” named Ellen and Keanu Reeves as her “non-traditional doctor”.

The Guardian reports that the film has faced opposition from some mental health experts even before release over the portrayal of its subject.

Dasha Nicholl, chair of the eating disorders faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, has said that the film is “potentially risky” and that “vulnerable” viewers should “consume with caution”. Nicholl also urged Netflix to add a trigger warning and parental advisory to the movie.

Psychologist Dr Carolyne Keenan, meanwhile, said: “It is very possible that some viewers may find the material distressing and triggering, and both Netflix and viewers will need to take responsibility for what they do with that. I wonder if it might be helpful to have an advisory prior to the trailer, for example, stating what viewers are about to see so that they can make an informed choice about watching.”

Keenan, however, did add that the topic of eating disorders is “one that does need to be spoken about”, saying: “Both the director and the lead actress have struggled with anorexia nervosa and created the production in collaboration with related organisations. There is evidence that they have attempted to make this a useful, informative piece in order to invite discussion.”

The movie’s director and writer, Marti Noxon, has responded to criticism by saying: “My goal with the film was not to glamorise [eating disorders] but to serve as a conversation starter about an issue that is too often clouded by secrecy and misconceptions.”

Collins has admitted to losing weight for the role, explaining: “There never was a ‘goal’ weight, but I knew that hair and makeup and wardrobe could only do so much. And that to pay tribute to the girl that I was when I was younger, and also to the character, I wanted to do it in a way that really went there – but was also healthy. But, yeah, there’s always a fine line.”

You can watch a trailer for the film above.