I’m not in the habit of reviewing things on my blog but I watched this on Netflix last night and feel the need to talk about it. A word of caution, I’m going to be talking about eating disorders which is what the movie is centered around so if this is a sensitive topic for you, stop reading right now.
The premise of the story is about a girl, Ellen, who’s been in and out of hospitals and treatment facilities for her eating disorder. After the last time she was kicked out of the facility, her mother decided Ellen couldn’t come live with her and her new girlfriend because she had dealt with the problem so long and didn’t feel like she was in the right mindset to help her daughter. So Ellen goes to live with her dad and her stepmom but her stepmom says that the only way she can stay in the house is if she gets regular weights to prove she’s improving. Ellen steps on the scale and disappoints her stepmom who resorts to using her connections to get her a unconventional type of specialist.
Ellen is sent to live in this house with other people who have eating disorders. They are not allowed to have cellphones or tablets of any kind. Those are taken away when they walk in the door. Also, any vitamins they bring in are taking away as well because even though these individuals claim they’re vitamins, they rationalize that they don’t know that for sure and don’t have time to test them. There are no doors in the house except the bathroom and everyone must come to dinner. They don’t have to eat if they don’t want to but they have to show up and the bathrooms are locked for half an hour after dinner each day. The more they reach their goal, they more privileges they receive like being able to go out and explore the town on their own.
I have to say I learned a lot about eating disorders that I didn’t know before. For example, Ellen’s disorder was she would eat and chew her food but she would never swallow it. She always spit it out. Another girl was pregnant and would only eat the bare minimum. Another girl still was actually a binge eater. So when everyone is sitting at the table and majority are trying no to eat, this girl ate too much and that’s still considered an eating disorder. If you got to the point where you didn’t eat enough, they would “tube” you. That’s basically inserting a feeding tube and forcing the nutrients into your body. There are scientific names for these but since they weren’t specifically named in the movie besides calling them an “illness”, I won’t be naming them here.
The film was very emotional as well. Ellen would have family therapy sessions with her family and you just feel how stressed out all parties are. The family are so afraid she’s going to die, especially her sister and they can’t do anything to help her. There’s one scene in particular that made me cry like a baby because her mother was trying really hard to understand. The support system was there in it’s own convoluted way but Ellen had to figure it out on her own. The specialist made a point in the movie when he said, sometimes you try so hard to help someone that, in some cases, it’s better to let them hit bottom.
I’m not sure if this movie is based off a book or not. I just made a snap decision to watch it cause of cast actors like Lily Collins and Keanu Reeves. Again, I learned a great deal and even though a good chunk of it was heartbreaking, there were happy moments as well such as Luke’s character. He was like the mother hen of the pack. Even though he had his own issues, he was always trying to keep the group smiling each day by singing and just being an all around encouraging, comforting individual.
Have you heard of this movie? Are you interested in watching it? Have you ever watched a Netflix original movie in general? Let me know in the comments below!