Experts express concern that Netflix film To The Bone could become an anorexia ‘how to’ guide for adolescents

Experts from charities including Beat and Headspace have spoken out about Netflix’s To The Bone, which portrays a young girl battling with anorexia nervosa.

The film, which is released worldwide on the streaming service on 14th July 2017, follows talented artist Ellen, played by Lily Collins, who is struggling with an eating disorder.

‘Determined to find a solution, her dysfunctional family agrees to send her to a group home for youths, which is led by a non-traditional doctor,’ Netflix details.

‘Surprised by the unusual rules – and charmed by her fellow patients – Ellen has to discover for herself how to confront her addiction and attempt self-acceptance, in order to stand a chance against her demons.’

However, Beat notes that throughout the film, there are frequent references to calories, weight and eating disorder behaviours, and images of Ellen at a very low weight.

‘We were disappointed that at many points in the movie Ellen’s family were depicted as the main cause of her eating disorder, where, in fact, eating disorders are complex, with no one single cause, and there is clear evidence that genetic and biological factors play a role,’ they add.

‘There is a strong likelihood that people who have been affected by eating disorders would find the film highly distressing or triggering.’

‘If you have experience of an eating disorder, we would advise speaking to someone within your support network, or to Beat before you watch the film, and plan ahead to make sure you can talk to someone about the film afterwards and the thoughts and feelings that came from it.’

Earlier this month, Australian charity Headspace also expressed concerns about the themes represented in the film, explaining that they’d already seen stills from the trailer on ‘thinspiration’ websites, where users often pursue and glamorise eating disorders.

‘The concern is about the portrayal of behaviours associated with an eating disorder – and whether this may be providing a ‘how to’ guide for adolescents who may be at risk,’ Headspace CEO Jason Trethowan said in a statement.

‘We don’t want any representation or discussion in the media, on TV, or anywhere else, that has the potential to place young people at risk.’