For starters, I am very grateful that this movie was made due to a lot of individuals suffering from various eating disorders who deserve to be represented in the community and cimema as well. This movie could elicit solace in an individual experiencing an eating disorder. The movie represents many eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. Lily Collins is truly remarkable as 20-year-old Ellen who is battling a deep case of anorexia. As many people might know, Lily herself suffers from anorexia and I feel that this makes the movie more personal and real in this aspect. To you Lily, thank you for accepting this role and showing your real life bravery on screen for many can be moved and find courage in it. When it comes to Ellen's family of origin, her parents are divorced and father is estranged from the family although his name is mentioned. Both parents have remarried—Dad to a very high strung woman and mom to a woman. Ellen's ride or die nonstop support system is her sister who encourages her throughout the movie and listens to what she has to say, unlike her parents.
I truly felt that the parents in the film were too busy telling Ellen how to feel instead of asking her what was wrong or what made Ellen anorexic. A lot of you are reading this and thinking "Oh Ellen made herself that way!" There is more to anorexia than physical deprivation of food. It is mental as much as it is physical. During the family therapy scene, everyone talked about Ellen as if she couldn't hear them or was already dead. I believe her family to have a hard time believing she is alive because they expected her to die from anorexia already. She became upset and defended herself because her family doesn't talk to her about why Ellen should want to live but just what she is doing wrong—which is not eating like they want her to. People do not stop eating; there are reasons that create this whether it be obvious or hidden. Let's think of what would have caused her to stop eating: criticism from her family instead of love, it being all she could control, no proper boundaries (they treat her like a baby she is 20 not 5), emotionally absent father, parents divorcing and being remarried to different people, having one friend in her sister, and absorbing anxiety in the family. The possibilities are endless, so take your pick.
Remember what she said to Luke? "People say they love you but they mean they love how loving you makes them feel." It was very cold, detached, and heartbreaking. This was Ellen telling Luke she felt unloved, unheard, and unimportant which made it hard for her to accept him loving her. She didn't feel like anyone loved her the way she needed so she took that belief and expressed it by not eating. I absolutely loved the scene where Luke asks her to dance in the rain. It was a perfect portrayal of spontaneity and what it means to feel alive—taking chances and putting yourself out there. I think in the last scene she decided to stop listening to that voice—that's why she went back to the group home. The ending made me feel a sequel possibly erupting. Who knows? Maybe we will be included in on the next steps of Eli's journey through her battle with anorexia.