To The Bone: A Movie Review

To some, the name Lily Collins might bring up movies such as “Abduction” with Taylor Lautner, “The Blind Side” with Sandra Bullock, or even “Mirror Mirror” with Julia Roberts. Music fans might recognize her last name and a quick Google search reveals that she is, in fact, the daughter of English musician Phil Collins. What some may not recognize her for yet, is her role as the character Ellen in the Netflix Original movie, “To the Bone”.

The movie follows 20-year-old Ellen, as her journey starts when she leaves a hospital inpatient program after not having much success. She returns home to her step-mother, Susan, and step-sister, Kelly, while her father has failed to have any part in her life.

Her step-mother, Susan, discovers Dr. Beck and hears of all his success he’s had with patients like Ellen. Ellen joins Beck’s inpatient program, this one being in a less hospital-like setting and a more home-like setting. She meets others struggling like she is, such as Megan (Leslie Bebb), Anna (Kathryn Prescott), and Tracy (Ciara Bravo). She also meets Luke (Alex Sharp), a former male ballerina who, after suffering a knee injury, started on the same path as Ellen and was admitted to this inpatient program.

While there, Ellen makes new friends, discovering new things about them and herself along the way. She starts to make progress and she and Luke become very close. They bond over Ellen’s artwork, candy, and Chinese food. A seemingly perfect pair, there are some stressful moments between the two -- mostly when Luke tries to help Ellen by giving her one of their shared favorite candy bars and she snaps at him.

Part of the program includes a family therapy session. This includes Ellen, her step-mother, Susan, her step-sister, Kelly (Liana Liberato), her biological mother, Judy, and Judy’s girlfriend, Olive. They find themselves with Dr. Beck in a room to work through some of their problems, which doesn’t go as planned. 

Susan brings up the artwork Ellen did a while back, that she believes caused another girl, who didn’t know Ellen, to end her life. The girl did not know Ellen and only saw the artwork online. Family therapy is a mess and Dr. Beck realizes that it is definitely not going to happen again.

Things seem to be going well for Ellen, or at this point, Eli, as she has changed her name. She has friends and is making headway. But all good things must come to an end as they do in any dramatic movie. Luke professes his love for her and it freaks her out. Her friend Megan loses her 12-week-old baby. Her progress in the program comes to a halt and after meeting with Dr. Beck, she thinks that she will never get better and runs away to her mother Judy’s house in Phoenix.

Ellen (now Eli) takes a walk late at night before collapsing due to exhaustion and hunger. She hallucinates of Luke. It shows her just how sick she is. Ellen, realizing she made a mistake, leaves Phoenix to go back to her step-mother and step-sister, Susan and Kelly, who then take her back to the house where she will continue Dr. Beck’s program and continue to get healthier and healthier.

“To the Bone” was released at the Sundance Film Festival in January of 2017. It then was released on Netflix in July of 2017.

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