9 Things You Need to Know Before Your Teen Watches Netflix’s To the Bone

By now you know everything about Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, but you might not be as familiar with its newest film currently getting buzz among tweens and teens. To the Bone, starring Lily Collins, is being exclusively streamed on Netflix and tells the story of Ellen, a 20-year-old woman who battles anorexia and finds herself in an inpatient program with six other young people.
The film’s director, Marti Noxon, used her own struggle with anorexia and bulimia as inspiration for the film, but the trailer was met with some controversy, with viewers asking Netflix to include a trigger warning at the beginning of the film. The director defended her work, saying on Twitter and in a press release that her goal is “not to glamorize eating disorders, but to serve as a conversation starter about an issue that is too often clouded by secrecy and misconceptions.”

While you might want to do exactly that and use this opportunity to discuss the film’s main theme with your daughter or son, there are a few more sensitive topics that appear in the movie which you might want to review before deciding whether your teen should watch with supervision or at all. Mild spoilers ahead, of course. RelatedBefore I Could Teach My Daughter to Love Her Body, I Had to Come to Terms With Mine

There’s a lot of self-hate. The movie would not present an honest portrayal of anorexia as a disease if it didn’t get inside the character’s mind, but at times, Ellen’s self-judging words are rough to hear. You see her constantly measure the width of her upper arm to see if she’s gained weight and observe more than one character damaging their body by overly exercising, purging, and depriving themselves from food.
Some scenes feature disturbing imagery. More than a few times, we see Ellen’s bare body with protruding ribs, collarbones, and spinal ridges – there are several scenes where she’s weighed. Her body is bruised from all the sit-ups she does to burn calories to get rid of the little food she eats, her eyes are sunken, and her skin is covered in hair, a side effect of anorexia. Again, while the actress transformed her body to better portray the character (Collins battled an eating disorder in her teens), if your kid is sensitive, this might be tough to see.
There’s some profanity. It’s not overtly aggressive, but there are some F-bombs, sh*ts, and more.
Some characters are insensitive toward eating disorders, which might be triggering. If your teen is in recovery from an eating disorder, hearing someone with anorexia referred to as “rexy” or seeing the main character’s stepmom jokingly serve her a cake shaped like a burger that reads “Eat up, Ellen” might be harmful.
Food is discussed in terms of calories and how to burn them. While this might not sound like a big warning, Ellen is always counting calories, even using her ability to nail the numbers as a party trick in front of her stepsister. If calorie-talk is not a concept your teen has ever observed, you might want to approach the subject before sitting down to watch the film. If your child is in recovery, this particular theme in the movie could be triggering.
There’s talk about self-harm. There are no scenes where you observe cutting, but the concept is mentioned. The nurse calls self-harmers at the treatment center “overachievers.”
Suicide is discussed. In an attempt to avoid a major spoiler alert, while you don’t see the act, there’s a graphic discussion about it.
There’s some underage drinking. This is probably nothing your teen hasn’t seen, but it’s worth mentioning.
It shows a miscarriage. The scene lasts only a few seconds, but you do see some blood.

Watch the trailer for To the Bone, available to stream on Netflix now, below.
If your teen or someone they know battles with an eating disorder, go to the National Eating Disorders Association for information and resources. #baby #babyproducts