In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, we’re putting Netflix’s 2017 drama To the Bone on the couch. Starring Lily Collins, this film tells the story of Ellen, a young woman battling anorexia, including her treatment at a residential facility led by the unconventional methods of Dr. Beckham, played by Keanu Reeves.
Dr. Sam and Dr. Fran discuss whether or not Ellen meets criteria for anorexia as well as the prevalence of anorexia in the US. We also review what Ellen’s treatment looks like in the film and explore the broader treatment of eating disorders by level of care (or setting) and type. Even beyond the subject of eating disorders, this is an especially helpful breakdown for anyone navigating the mental health system.
Finally, we discuss some of the controversy surrounding the film and rate the portrayal of anorexia and its treatment on our DSM-5 (Diagnosing Shows and Movies). Plus, we share some certified PhDonts that the movie definitely got wrong.
We hope this episode provides help and hope. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can get help by calling the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.