TO THE BONE (2017)

Let's take a look at the 2017 film To The Bone, which tells about the struggle of Ellen, who suffers from anorexia nervosa disorder, one of the types of eating disorders, and is resistant to treatment, with anorexia. And let's remind you before we forget: Attention! Contains spoiler. The main character of the film, Ellen, is an individual suffering from anorexia nervosa disorder who has lost the will to live and is resistant to treatment despite being in an extremely unhealthy state. Of course, before we start reviewing the film, let's briefly talk about what anorexia nervosa is. Anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by abnormally low body weight and body perception disorder, where individuals have an abnormally low body weight by keeping away themselves from food due to their intense fear of gaining weight.

Sep 25, 2023 - 19:48
Sep 28, 2023 - 12:33
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TO THE BONE (2017)

 Let's take a look at the 2017 film To The Bone, which tells about the struggle of Ellen, who suffers from anorexia nervosa disorder, one of the types of eating disorders, and is resistant to treatment, with anorexia. And let's remind you before we forget: Attention! Contains spoiler.


TAGS
Country: USA
Year of construction: 2017
Genre: Drama
Duration: 1s 47min
Directed by: Marti Noxon
Starring: Lily Collins, Keanu Reeves, Alex Sharp, Liana Libertino, Lili Taylor, Brooke Smith


REVIEW
 The main character of the film, Ellen, is an individual suffering from anorexia nervosa disorder who has lost the will to live and is resistant to treatment despite being in an extremely unhealthy state. Of course, before we start reviewing the film, let's briefly talk about what anorexia nervosa is. Anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by abnormally low body weight and body perception disorder, where individuals have an abnormally low body weight by keeping away themselves from food due to their intense fear of gaining weight.


The diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa published in the DSM 5 handbook are:
A. Anorexia restricts energy intake according to the needs of individuals. It leads to noticeably low body weight in terms of an individual's age, gender, developmental path, and body health.
B. Persons who have anorexia are very afraid of body weight gain or getting fat, and although extremely noticeable at low body weight, engage in restriction, removal, or compensatory behaviors that make it difficult to increase body weight.
C. There is a disorder related to how an individual perceives body weight or shape, the individual attaches undue importance to body weight and shape when evaluating themselves and they never understand the importance of low body weight at that time.


 If we start to review the film in this context, Ellen is a typical anorexic individual with unusual weakness, bones that have become obvious due to this weakness, and hair that her body produces to warm itself. Ellen was restricting her eating behavior to avoid gaining weight, counting the calories of her meals, and doing compensatory behaviors by doing exercises that were heavy on her body to burn the nutrients she ate. According to Ellen, her weight was not at an unhealthy level, and even thanks to this weakness, she would live longer. Ellen's these sentences are an indication that her body perception is deteriorating. Her body perception was so distorted that she did not realize that her weakness was leading her step by step to the inevitable end, death. In the following scenes, Ellen meets with Doctor Beckham at the urging of her family. Ellen, who is seeing Beckham, agrees to treatment in a far-fetched way and starts living in the same house with other people suffering from eating disorders. Luke, who introduced the house when he entered the therapy house, describes the dining room as a ‘torture chamber’ and shows the meaning of eating for anorexic individuals. Food was just calories for them, and eating was torture for them. Ellen was starting to enjoy life as she spent time with Luke and other individuals with whom she became close at the therapy house. Luke wanted to heal for a purpose. But Ellen had no purpose. Therefore, she also had no motivation for recovery. At this point, we can see how important motivation and desire are in the treatment of psychological disorders. Throughout the film, we see the difficulties and struggles experienced by Ellen and other individuals with an eating disorder. So what were the underlying causes of these disorders? Why are individuals able to control eating behavior, which is one of our most basic needs, so much? Eating disorders are disorders that have both physical and psychological aspects. Our emotions, thoughts, and experiences in everyday life can affect our mental health and, indirectly, our physical health. From this point of view, anorexia nervosa is based on the individual's feelings and problems, while the body is weakened by the inability to get the nutrients it needs, and this weakness becomes fatal day by day. When we get down to Ellen's mood and family relationships, we can see that she has problematic family relationships. Considering that her mother has postpartum depression and mood disorders, Ellen's mother does not want to live with her daughter due to the problems she experienced in adolescence, and her father is almost never in her daughter's life, it can be assumed that Ellen cannot establish a secure connection with her family and experiences loneliness. Also, the divorce of her parents and the fact that her mother was homosexual were traumatic events in Ellen's childhood. Ellen was a girl who was not noticed by her own family, unseen, and also aware of it. This realization had driven her to despair about her relationship with her parents, especially with her father. Ellen's indirect damage to her body by starving may perhaps be a result of her desire to be noticed by her family, to receive attention, and even to feel superfluous in the world. It is also extremely possible that she is expressing her anger at his family and unhappiness by harming her body. The scene in which her mother feeds Ellen, which is one of the most vital scenes of the film, actually draws attention to the bond that Ellen must have formed with her mother during the oral period. Looking at it from the point of view of a psychology student, frankly, I would have liked to have included more of Ellen's background and thoughts in the film.

 Maybe then we could have learned more clearly from Ellen's perspective what brought Ellen to this point.

 If we examine the film as a whole, it was an extremely successful film about eating disorders, the basis of these disorders, and the difficulty of treatment processes. It was also extremely valuable for the film to raise awareness and raise awareness about these disorders, which are ignored and underestimated by society. At the end of the film, we do not see Ellen in a healed state. Ellen returned to the boarding house with greater determination and desire than before. Ellen is now eager and determined to get well. From here, we can understand that the treatment of psychological disorders is a difficult path that requires patience and determination. The important thing is to believe in the light at the end of the path and the desire for that light.

 If you would like to witness Ellen's journey and the cruel effects of anorexia nervosa, I strongly recommend that you give the film a chance.

Bibliography

  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mentaldisorders (5th ed.). WashingtonDC: Author.
  • CİMELİ.E.(2020), Film Analizi: Kemiklerine Kadar (To the Bone)11 Eylül 2023 https://www.monapsikoloji.com/

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Rana Gülşen Pekel Merhaba, ben Rana Gülşen PEKEL. Çağ Üniversitesi’nde Psikoloji Bölümü 4. Sınıf öğrencisiyim. Deneysel Psikoloji, Nöropsikoloji, Fizyolojik Psikoloji, Öğrenme Psikolojisi ve Endüstriyel Psikoloji alanları ile ilgileniyorum. Lisans eğitimim boyunca EFPSA (Avrupa Psikoloji Öğrencileri Birlikleri Federasyonu) ile Mind the Mind projesi kapsamında uluslararası çalışma yürütüp bunun yanında Adana Güzelyalı Hastanesi’nde ve Rehber Klinik’te Klinik Psikoloji, Adana Adliyesi’nde Adli Psikoloji ve Adana Sheraton Grand Hotel’de İnsan Kaynakları alanlarında stajlar yaparak kendimi alanlar arası geliştirme imkanı buldum. Aynı zamanda psikoloji öğrencilerinin eğitimlere ulaşılabilirliğini arttırmaya yönelik oluşturulan bir eğitim platformunda Üniversite Temsilciliği ve Eğitim Koordinatörlüğü yaparak tecrübe kazandım. Lisans eğitimim sonrasında nöropsikoloji alanında uluslararası çalışmalar yapmayı planlıyorum. Sayedra Psikoloji yönetim kurulunda yer alırken aynı zamanda Makale Çeviri Koordinatörlüğü görevimi sürdürüyorum. İdeallerim doğrultusunda kendimi sürekli güncel tutuyor ve uluslararası çalışmaları takip ederek geliştiriyorum.