To the Bone

By Blizek, William | Journal of Religion and Film, April 2017 | Go to article overview

To the Bone


Blizek, William, Journal of Religion and Film


To the Bone (2017), dir. Marti Noxon

To the Bone is the story of Ellen's battle with anorexia. She comes from a family where her father is absent and her step-mother can only be described as a bitch. Her sister adores her and serves as a buffer between her and the parents she lives with. Her biological mother has moved to Arizona with her lesbian lover, abandoning her yet again. Ellen agrees to try one more inpatient facility and meets a doctor that treats anorexia as an addiction. In the end, Ellen decides that she wants to live and returns to the facility with a measure of hope.

What struck me about this story is that Ellen's journey seems similar to the j ourney of many people who find religion. Religions offer their adherents hope for a better life whether in this world or the next. And many people find themselves addicted to things that are harmful to them, not only drugs, alcohol, gambling or sex, but material goods, fame or popularity, work, saving others, being morally pure and so on. The addiction leaves them with lives that are empty and painful, but they remain addicted anyhow. When religion enters the picture, it tries to wean people away from those addictions and it offers them hope for a better future. …

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