A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
People are challenged to make life-saving changes in the worst circumstances. In spite of past behavior and/or others' negative conduct, each character must ask, "How do I want to live?" Focuses on eating disorders as more a problem of the soul than the body. Themes include compassion, empathy, and perseverance.
Positive Role Models
The main character, who has an eating disorder, is encouraged to find the will to live. She learns that no one can be healed if they're resistant to being helped. Those in support of characters who are working through serious issues are asked to be unselfish, loyal, and clearheaded. Professionals charged with caring for people in crisis are shown to be responsible, determined, and compassionate. Most family members are portrayed as people who, despite their intentions, put their own emotional needs first -- but they seem to learn something about what their roles and conduct should be by the end of the movie. Father has distanced himself from his daughter. Diversity within the cast.
Violence & Scariness
Disturbing scenes include -- spoiler alert -- a character's bruises (self-inflicted by overexercising), fainting in a public space, and someone shown struggling to survive in a desert. A young woman is shown on a bathroom floor after a bloody miscarriage. References to suicide.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing and embracing. Frank sexual talk includes reference to masturbation, orgasm. A young woman is nude; no graphic nudity. Women shown in bras and panties.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Frequent cursing, profanity, insults, and body references, including "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "grow a pair," "balls," "Jesus Christ," "crap," "retarded," "p---y," "vagina," "boogers."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Mega Gulp, Tsing Tao beer, Tumblr.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Young man and woman drink beer. Cigarette smoking.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that To the Bone follows Ellen (Lily Collins), a 20-year-old woman with an eating disorder, as she embarks on an uncertain and difficult journey toward recovery. It's not easy to watch; many intense, disturbing scenes show Ellen's struggles with food and body image, as well as those of others who are forced to confront their illnesses. Language is strong, including "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," and more. Characters kiss, cuddle, and have frank conversations about sex (expect references to orgasms, masturbation, and the like). There's also nonsexual nudity related to the main character's continuing health issues. Two scenes include underage drinking and cigarette smoking. Writer-director Marti Noxon tackles a very sensitive issue with the honesty and authenticity that come from having been there herself. While it's clear that her intentions aren't exploitative, there has been concern (some based on the movie's trailer) about the film's possible stereotyping or triggering of negative behavior among those with eating disorders. But rest assured that the movie has thoughtful messages about finding joy and beauty in life, discovering value in ourselves, and learning to survive the bad things that inevitably happen to everyone. It also promotes compassion, empathy, and perseverance. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Despite its controversial subject matter, Marti Noxon's drama is a moving, believable film made with earnestness, sensitivity, and skill, as well as riveting performances. Candid, painful scenes are intercut with moments of sharp-edged humor and touching romance. Over the course of To the Bone, a largely dysfunctional family is treated with compassion rather than ridicule.
Given that both Noxon and Collins have acknowledged past histories of eating disorders, it's clear that their intention is to bring authenticity and insight to the subject. To the Bone is a well-made film that should find a wide audience, encouraging empathy and compassion for Ellen and others who face similar challenges.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.