Is Netflix’s New Movie Glorifying Eating Disorders?

Florida Psychiatrists


Netflix is no stranger to controversial content. Their hit show “13 Reasons Why”, which depicts teen suicide and sexual assault, was hit with criticism and concerns over the content being triggering or glorifying these acts.

Two days ago Netflix released a trailer for their new movie “To the Bone”. Lily Collins stars in it as a young woman battling anorexia. The trailer depicts Ellen (Collins) as a 20-year old gifted college dropout who goes through treatment yet again to confront her anorexia. Keanu Reeves also stars as Ellen’s doctor.

Criticism poured in almost immediately. Some views saw the trailer as triggering for those who have, or currently, suffer from eating disorders. There are concerns that it could also be triggering for anyone with thoughts of self-harm and other mental health issues.


Others are accusing Netflix of “romanticizing” eating disorders. This is due to the upbeat music, bright colors, and jokes made during the trailer.

Florida psychiatrists agree that the show might be triggering. However, the notions of “romanticizing” are debatable. The upbeat music is contrasted with a pained voiceover repeating “I got it under control” and is abruptly cut out when the eating disorder takes over Collins.

Psychiatrists say they hope Netflix will hear the criticism and put in trigger warnings like they did with “13 Reasons Why”.


Some viewers have also been showing their support for the movie. Unlike “13 Reasons Why”, “To the Bone” was written and directed by Marti Noxon. Noxon wrote the story based on her own life experiences struggling and overcoming anorexia.

Then there is Lily Collins herself, who has been open about her own struggles with eating disorders. In interviews Collins has discussed how she was worried taking this part would be triggering for her. Ultimately she decided to do it to “face it head-on”. Collins lost a considerable amount of weight for the role but all under strict medical guidance. Taking this role appeared to be a healing step for Collins.

Viewers are also praising the uplifting, positive tone of the movie. They claim it gives hope to those who are going through eating disorders, showing that they can be overcome.

Mental health issues have been front and center topic in recent years. There is a double-edged sword for media when it comes to this. People call for more representation and stories of it yet criticize it when they are shown.

Florida psychiatrists say that there is some worry about the movie being “thinso” (thin inspiration) for impressionable viewers. They encourage parents to get ahead of this by watching the movie with their children. The “13 Reasons Why” popularity took many parents by surprise. Most hadn’t even heard of the show until long after their kids had watched it. Hopefully, this time parents will have more warning and be able to step in sooner.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder or another mental illness contact one of Florida’s top psychiatrists.

Watch the trailer here (WARNING: it might be triggering to some viewers)

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