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 is a film which should be seen by anybody interested in, effected by, or suffering from an eating disorder. It is an amazingly accurate and sensitive portrayal of bulimia in a teenage girl, its causes and its symptoms. The girl is played by one of the most brilliant young actresses working in cinema today, Alison Lohman, who was later so spectacular in 'Where the Truth Lies'. I would recommend that this film be shown in all schools, as you will never see a better on this subject. Alison Lohman is absolutely outstanding, and one marvels at her ability to convey the anguish of a girl suffering from this compulsive disorder. If barometers tell us the air pressure, Alison Lohman tells us the emotional pressure with the same degree of accuracy. Her emotional range is so precise, each scene could be measured microscopically for its gradations of trauma, on a scale of rising hysteria and desperation which reaches unbearable intensity. Mare Winningham is the perfect choice to play her mother, and does so with immense sympathy and a range of emotions just as finely tuned as Lohman's. Together, they make a pair of sensitive emotional oscillators vibrating in resonance with one another. This film is really an astonishing achievement, and director Katt Shea should be proud of it. The only reason for not seeing it is if you are not interested in people. But even if you like nature films best, this is after all animal behaviour at the sharp edge. Bulimia is an extreme version of how a tormented soul can destroy her own body in a frenzy of despair. And if we don't sympathise with people suffering from the depths of despair, then we are dead inside.
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