To the Bone: Information for people with eating disorders and families

Posted 14/07/2017

To the Bone is a Netflix originals film that was released on 14 July 2017. The film is rated 15, and follows the story of the main character, Ellen, who is 20 and diagnosed with anorexia. The film sees Ellen admitted to an inpatient unit for her eating disorder and follows her relationships with the people within the unit and her family.

Does the film contain triggering information?

In many points in the film, there are references to calories, weights, specific eating disorder behaviours, and images of people at low weights. The film tackles difficult themes, which may or may not relate to your own experiences.

Should I watch To the Bone?

If you have experience of an eating disorder, we would advise speaking to someone within your support network, or to Beat before you watch the film, and plan ahead to make sure you can talk to someone about the film afterwards and the thoughts and feelings that came from it. You could also ask someone you trust and who knows about your personal experiences to watch first, as their feedback may better inform you about whether it’s advisable for you to watch the film or not.

As a family member, would it be useful to watch To the Bone?

To the Bone is a fictional, dramatised story, and while there are some themes many people affected by eating disorders will identify with, it is important to remember that the film represents just one person’s experience. We would also mention that the family dynamics of Ellen’s story may prove difficult to watch, and in our statement, we have expressed our disappointment in this element of the storyline. You may find that it helps you to understand what your loved one is going through, and, as long as you and your loved one think it is safe for them to do so, it may even be helpful to watch together. We would suggest that any thoughts or emotions about the film are discussed during or afterwards.

Remember our support services are here

Beat’s Helpline is open 365 days a year, 12-8pm Monday to Friday, 4-8pm Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays via phone and email, and we run online support groups 7 days a week, including ‘The Nest’ every evening 6-7pm, where we moderate an open discussion. From Saturday – Thursday, the group is for people in recovery from eating disorders, and on Friday the group is open only to friends and family.

Beat’s support services are a safe, confidential space for you to talk about your eating disorder or through your worries about someone you care about.