Written & Directed By: Marti Noxon
Cinematography By: Richard Wong
Editor: Elliot Greenberg
Cast: Lily J. Collins, Alex Sharp, Lili Taylor, Brooke Smith, Keanu Reeves, Retta, Kathryn Prescott, Leslie Bibb, Carrie Preston, Alanna Ubach, Maya Eshet
Ellen is a 20 year old woman struggling with anorexia nervosa. In the midst of family problems and her own fears, she is accepted into a group home run by an unusual doctor. Through the people she meets and the journey she takes, Ellen follows a path of self discovery and acceptance that will lead her to a surprising place she never would have thought possible
This film is heartfelt and obviously a passion project for all involved.a female centered story. Where the filmmakers are obviously close to the subject. So they can inform and showcase all different points of view on the subject, but at times maybe it feels like it is too close as the subject overcomes every other element of the film.
The film sends out a message of hope for the characters and subject. Which is needed, but for others in the audience might feel too cut and dry. As here are no casualties there are setbacks, but never any true tragedy. As we see the drama of the characters and their setbacks and challenges that they struggle with, but for the most part seem to be taking on and winning except for our main character.
Who eventually is revealed to have more psychological problems that have to do with her absent father. And flighty selfish mother Which also reveals a rather surprisingly strong eventual bond with her step mother. As finally when she needs it her mother actually steps up.
The film has great performances and really opened my eyes to the strength, talent and range of Lily Collins. Also mention must be given to Alex Sharp who shines as a fellow charismatic patient who is also a dancer and who she bonds with the most.
The performances shows how it not only affects the sufferers. But shines a light on Their families. As well, how eating disorders spreads across all ages and sexes and body types. As after all it is a mental illness.
Lilly J. Collins worked closely with a nutritionist both during filming, and for several months afterwards, to ensure her health during her weight loss and subsequent weight gain.
The film is smart it shows that the characters are not stupid or blind in what they are doing. Hey know what they are doing is slowly killing themselves they want to care but there is an impulsive that won’t let them be at peace just simply eating.
The only problem is that by the end of the film. It comes off as an all star after school special. Which works as they don’t really make them anymore. So this is more of a social movie. Which maybe speaks more to a teen audience though can be watched by families. Especially made for this generations needs and that is who will respond it the strongest.
The film raises a mild romantic interest then quickly shuts it down to show that, that is not the answer to everything especially the characters problems. Plus to love you have to at least care about yourself.
It pushes the right buttons for the audience it aims at. Others will be taken by it’s message and might learn some new things about the disease they never knew. For the most part it puts a familiar face to the disease that will make you care more and feel more involved. The film comes off like a movie of the week, but is one worth watching.