To the Bone

Critics Consensus

To the Bone offers an insightful, empathetic look at a widespread issue, led by exemplary work from Lily Collins in the central role.



Total Count: 63


Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,369
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Movie Info

Based on the real-life experiences of writer/director Marti Noxon, TO THE BONE shares the story of 20-year- old Ellen and her battle with anorexia. Ellen enters a group home run by an unconventional doctor where she and the other residents go on a sometimes funny, sometimes harrowing journey - navigating their addictions and finding the path to choosing life.


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Critic Reviews for To the Bone

All Critics (63) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (45) | Rotten (18)

  • Ultimately the most resonant message To the Bone has to offer is that there is no one certain way to heal from anorexia, and no one right way to tell stories about it either.

    Jul 20, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Though To the Bone isn't quite enjoyable to watch, it's acted well and is, in its depiction of this all-too-pervasive disorder, essential.

    Jul 17, 2017 | Full Review…
  • The performances are mostly excellent, Collins' above all.

    Jul 17, 2017 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

    Verne Gay

    Top Critic
  • It's certainly realistic that the young woman may not be sufficiently self-aware to know why she puts great effort into remaining a virtual skeleton. But there are other sufferers in the story, and all are painted even more generically.

    Jul 14, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Collins' performance is certainly the main attraction here, but Noxon has rounded out the rest of her cast with equally as impressive supporting turns from performers as diverse as Reeves, Retta, Alex Sharp, Preston, and Lili Taylor.

    Jul 14, 2017 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

    Kate Erbland

    Top Critic
  • There are aspects of this approach that are refreshing. Noxon clearly knows the territory. But the end result is confusing and unfocused.

    Jul 14, 2017 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for To the Bone

  • Aug 12, 2017
    Okay. Kind of plods along a bit. Fine for a Netflix watch, but wouldn't have been happy if I spent money on it.
    Nicki M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 29, 2017
    The film had a lot of potential but it never breaks away from the teen angst vibe that surrounds it. Collins gives a career defining performance and the depth of her role is the saving grace in an otherwise odd film. Keanu Reeves shows up in a role that never overshadows the leads and provides a strong presence for all the young actors. I thought this film might paint a more vivid and scary look into this disease but it never goes into that which is a let down for all the hard work done by Collins. The film has a lot to say and unfortunately never gets there in the end. You will watch for the main performances but without a core storyline that is afraid to show you the depth of the disease addiction, it will be a film that you will forget in a few weeks because of the fluffy material. The film needed to go darker on the subject. 30-07-2017.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Jul 18, 2017
    Films that are based around events that happen throughout our every day life can be very hard to watch at times. I'm not going to sugar coat this film and say that it's a masterpiece and you should watch it before anything else, because I know that there are some people that probably can't quite make it through the reality of the film. To the Bone depicts certain aspects of life with honesty and I found myself reminded of the rest of the world on multiple occasions. Yes, this is a terrific film that Netflix has acquired, and quite frankly one of the best films I've seen in all of 2017, but I can't recommend it unless you know what you're getting yourself into. Here is why To the Bone needs to be seen, but why that recommendation needs a warning accompanying it. From the second this film starts, to the second it ends, To the Bone is a relentless fact spewer. Following a young lady in Ellen (Lily Collins) as she is struggling immensely with anorexia, she is sent to a home that takes care of patients like her. Some have already had progress and some may even be worse than her. Trying to recover while having to make friends and watch them suffer with her, this is a very realistic tale to watch unfold on-screen. Plain and simple, films don't get much more realistic than this. When a tragic element is needed in order to motivate a character, this film goes for it and it can be quite the challenge to sit through at times. There isn't a moment of beating around the bush, because this film gets itself straight to the point without hesitation. Although there are side characters with their own issues, Ellen is definitely at the forefront of this premise and her interaction with everyone was easily the highlight of the film for me. The way she used others to either motivate herself or put herself down felt incredibly realistic and Lily Collins' performance was far better and much more true-to-life than I was expecting it to be. She truly was phenomenal throughout this film. Although the character of Luke (Alex Sharp) bugged me at first, his offbeat relationship with Ellen that slowly blossoms throughout the film was what gave the much needed depth to his character. If I had to gripe about something, it would have to be the constant reminder that our main character is sick. At a very solid length of 107 minutes, To the Bone is a movie that doesn't need to keep reminding you of what the core story is about, but for some reason it does. I understand this concept may be hard for some to take in, but constantly showing the audience that Ellen doesn't want to eat and constantly wants to exercise could've been trimmed down a bit in order to provide a little more backstory into why she became this way, but that was really the only issue I had with the film upon reflection. Yes, there is a sense of repetition, but I found that Lily Collins distracted me from that most of the time, due to her stellar performance. In the end, this film proves at Netflix knows how to pick a good property to showcase. From start to finish, To the Bone is a very captivating film about the harshness of anorexia. It's not afraid to give you the facts and also not afraid to visually show you how bad it can become. It's hard to say that you love a film like this, so I will refrain and simply state that this is one of the most effective films I've seen in quite some time. Well-written in terms of being realistic, well-directed in knowing when to showcase certain events, and well-acted across the board, To the Bone is well worth watching, but just know that it's very straight up with its audience. If you're in the mood for a drama that takes itself 100% seriously (even though there are aspects of comedy), then I highly recommend checking this one out.
    KJ P Super Reviewer

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