By Muhammad Faiz
Opening up a conversation about mental health will never be easy. Mental health is the issue that people tend to shy away from discussing or talking. It is because the issue is usually so heavy and uncomfortable that causes people to avoid the topic.
Some people do not have the knowledge or enough information on the matter and they do not indulge themselves to even wanting to know about it. That is why it is so important for the issue to be dealt with.
Real life inspired film”To the Bone” that tells a story of a young woman who is dealing with anorexia. It is about her journey to face her condition and in embracing life. It follows her finding a reason to fight and be brave and be better. For a film to be produced with a plot that deals with anorexia is simply a brave move. Regardless of how genius it is, it is indeed a genius move.
When we talk about the film, all hands must be on deck, for all aspects such as script, narrative, portrayals, setting and others, must be genuine and real. Especially when it is dealing with real life issues.
As of now, IMDb gave the film 7.1 out of ten and 64% on Metacritic. Based from Variety, they regarded that the film takes an honest look at anorexia as the feature director makes a film that could save lives. Anorexia is a medical condition where there is lacking or loss of appetite for food. It is also an emotional disorder characterised by an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat.
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines anorexia as a serious disorder in eating behaviour primarily of young women in their teens and early twenties that is characterised especially by a pathological fear of weight gain leading to faulty eating patterns, malnutrition, and usually excessive weight loss.
When I was watching the film, I was ready for all of the intense scenes that I was hoping for and the feeling when I watched 13 reasons why. However, it turns out the film making it less intense is a great thing as it allows me to be more focused on the story and really soaked into it. One of the great things about the film is that it does have other background stories but it does not take away the attention on the issue.
Besides that, the film was produced with great representation as the main actor and the director of the movie have been dealing with anorexia in the past. Not only that, in the film, it also touches on how people should not react to people who are suffering from eating disorder. At the early part of the film, the main character’s dad and stepmom are dealing with it in a wrong way.
The character’s dad is conveniently missing throughout the film even though he has been mentioned several times. As for the stepmom, she does not know how to deal with it so she deals with it a wrong way. For example, there this one scene where she makes a cake with an inappropriate catchphrase. Nonetheless, the stepmother has the right intention all along because she is there to help.
The film also highlighted a very important focus that only skinny people are suffering from eating disorder. At the rehabilitation centre, they have various body sizes and it does show that people with a little bit or more weight can suffer with it too. The thing about anorexia, it is a mental condition that makes people afraid to eat and people seem to forget about that distinction. It is important to know that there is no simple category or a check box in any mental condition.
Overall, the amazing lesson that we can learn from the movie is that no one can help you more than you can help yourself. The main character in the movie has an amazing support system, minus the dad, alongside her throughout her journey, recovering from anorexia. However, as amazing as the support system is, as amazing as the unconventional doctor that is helping her, and as amazing as her fellow friends at the home, she will not change unless she decides it herself. The lesson definitely resonates throughout life and realistically happened and proven.
It is stated even in the Quran, “For Allah will never change the grace which He has bestowed on people until they change what is in themselves: and verily Allah is He Who hears and knows (all things).” [Sûrah al-Anfâl: 53]
Based on my experience watching the movie, I gave it four out of five as it deals with the issue efficiently. However, it is important for the audience to know that there is much more about eating disorder than what have been shown in the movie. For the film to make an impact, it must be kept for a certain duration of time with a simplistic story line.
We must therefore keep educating ourselves on the issue of anorexia to be more knowledgeable as eating disorder could cause death and other illnesses. We need to know so we can avoid it. Most importantly, the knowledge would be useful to us so we can help those suffering from eating disorder. ***