TV & Movies

Is To the Bone the New 13 Reasons Why? Filmmaker Marti Noxon Responds to Critics

It hasn't even started streaming on Netflix yet, but Noxon's new film about anorexia is already garnering some serious controversy

To the Bone 13 Reasons Why: Keanu Reeves and Lilly Collins sit in a doctors office in a scene for To the Bone where Collins plays an anorexic 20-year-old

(Photo: Netflix)

Selena Gomez’s smash hit 13 Reasons Why garnered heated debate over its portrayal of mental health issues, and now To the Bone, starring Lily Collins, seems set to face similar criticisms.

To the Bone follows the story of Ellen (Collins), 20, as she makes yet another attempt to gain control over her anorexia by checking into an unconventional group home for youth. The feature-length movie, which premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, will stream on Netflix on July 14, but the recently released trailer already has some viewers concerned about how the film is depicting eating disorders.

Collins has spoken about her history with eating disorders, getting particularly candid in her book Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me, which also came out earlier this year. To the Bone‘s writer and director Marti Noxon also spent much of her young adult life battling anorexia bulimia and used that experience to create the film. In light of the controversy that the movie has already garnered, Noxon tweeted a statement, explaining that the creators behind the film spoke with numerous eating disorder survivors and spoke with Project HEAL, a campaign dedicated to raising funds to help patients afford treatment. “I hope that by casting a little light into the darkness of this disease we can achieve greater understanding and guide people to help if they need it,” wrote Noxon in her tweet, which has since been retweeted 1,800 times.

Despite Noxon’s good intentions, some Twitter users pointed out that because of the sensitive nature of the movie, the trailer should have carried a trigger warning—a major point of contention with 13 Reasons Why. [Note: The Twitter moment about To the Bone warns viewers that it “may contain sensitive content”]

Despite the backlash, there are other users who saw the trailer and have hope that To the Bone will help open up the discussion and awareness surrounding eating disorders.

(By “mean,” @gracedora_ clarified that she meant “men.”)

According to the National Eating Disorder Information Centre, an estimated 600,000 to 990,000 Canadians are living with some form of eating disorder at any given time. The organization notes that the number of people effected by this mental health condition exceed the total population of Prince Edward Island, Nunavut, Yukon, and Newfoundland and Labrador combined.

With the film set to start streaming on Netflix in the coming weeks, it’s clear that there will be many more conversations—and likely controversy—to come.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please contact the National Eating Disorder Information Centre: 416-340-4156 (GTA), 1-866-633-4220 (toll-free), or email: nedic@uhn.ca

Related:

Does ‘13 Reasons Why‘ Trivialize Suicide? We Asked a Psychiatrist
13 Reasons Why‘ Season Two: What We Know So Far
Victoire Dauxerre Interview: How Modelling Nearly Killed Her

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