I realize Facebook is hardly the medium for prolific conversation, but since I saw the trailer here, I posted the below post on my profile. I decided to post it here as well, because I know the readers of this blog never fail to leave insightful and resourceful comments.
Before watching, I must provide the ever-important trigger warning. Though only a two minute trailer, this clip features calorie counting, compulsive exercise, emaciated physiques, and other disordered tendencies.
What are your thoughts on this film?
My personal thoughts are… conflicting.
Initially, all I want to shout is NO. Films, documentaries, literature revolving around anorexia can so easily fall into the trap of glamorization. The online world runs rampant already with an abundance of pro-ana media, and I fear this film could have scenes taken out of context in which the actions are glorified. I’m also extremely disappointed to read that Lily Collins, the main actress, purposefully lost a significant amount of weight in order to accurately portray her character role, especially considering she has publicly opened up about her own personal struggles with this mental illness in the past. While I understand the dedication to illustrating the horrific reality of anorexia, I find it difficult to look beyond that hypocrisy. A film raising awareness for the fatal dangers of an eating disorder should NOT have an actor undergo starvation diets themselves. I will never see that as being anything other than absurdly wrong.
Additionally, there was absolutely no need for the main actress, regardless of who they chose, to lose weight. Eating disorders kill at all weights. One does not need to fall into the *underweight* category on a BMI chart to set alarms off. By having her lose weight, the film further promotes this unfortunate misconception. Even more so, I worry this film reinforces the stereotype that anorexia only happens to young white females. This is simply not the case. Even though I as well fall into that demographic, this is only a percentage. When another movie is to be made that accurately raises awareness for eating disorders, I only hope there is more diverse representation. I have the privilege of people accepting my mental illness much more than people who do not fit these categories. That is not fair. I don’t need a movie with the main actress to look just like me. If anyone needs that, it’s the marginalized. There is no question there.
That said, there is a part of me that is also happy to see more and more awareness being brought to these issues. It’s my hope that anyone who does watch this film can see subtle behaviors and signals, thus allowing for those struggling to receive help much earlier on. A film like this can bring comfort to both those in recovery and those supporting.
Ultimately, I think this is a film I’ll pass on. I’ve lived through it. I have no interest in making a trip down that portion of memory lane.
I’d love to hear any and all thoughts you might have on the topic. I set out writing this post with only two or three sentences in my mind. However the more I thought about it, the seemingly more riled up I became. Thank you for any personal thoughts you share with me. Please know I grow and learn so much from your opinions and ideas.