Dawn Cottrell (Peterson) seems like a typical sixteen-year-old girl, but she has a very dangerous secret. Unable to express her true feelings, whenever Dawn is upset she grabs a knife and cuts herself.
Casey Powell is a young teenage girl who is secretly suffering from anorexia nervosa, a mental and physical illness of deliberately starving herself or self-induced vomiting, because of her... See full summary »
Eva Marie Saint,
Jennifer Jason Leigh
After a blurred trauma over the summer, Melinda enters high school a selective mute. Struggling with school, friends, and family, she tells the dark tale of her experiences, and why she has chosen not to speak.
This was surprisingly intelligent for a TV movie, and quite true to my own experience of bulimia. It was actually well-researched, and I can only assume it was written by someone who's gone through a similar experience, because it had all the little details. The characters were quite well-drawn, and the performances by Mare Winningham and Alison Lohman were great. I think what I like most was that they made them specific and smart, and there was no dumbing down of the reasons for Beth's bulimia (it wasn't some "diet gone out of control, caused by the pressures placed on girls by the media, pressures we're not actually going to address..."). Her mother wasn't completely clueless - too often on television they'll take an issue that EVERYONE has some awareness of and try to tell us that their protagonists are the last remaining people on earth who don't ("Diabetes? What's that? Oh, my world is all askew, doctor, please explain it all to me as if I'm a small child", etc). It was brilliant that her mother was a psychologist and even she didn't see the signs. And the scenes where Beth was throwing up weren't OVERLY melodramatic and sensationalist, and concentrated more on bulimics' need for secrecy, and their out-of-controlness. The scene where Beth tells her mother she's bulimic would've made me cry if there hadn't been other people in the room.
Okay, so I liked those bits. What didn't work for me so well was the ending, which headed back to the TV movie territory we know and don't particularly love, but I guess they had to wrap it up. "You, too, can cure your child's eating disorder, if you have lots and lots of money and live in America..."
And can I just say again that I really like Mare Winningham. She's great.
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