A young woman, dealing with anorexia, meets an unconventional doctor who challenges her to face her condition and embrace life.A young woman, dealing with anorexia, meets an unconventional doctor who challenges her to face her condition and embrace life.A young woman, dealing with anorexia, meets an unconventional doctor who challenges her to face her condition and embrace life.
It has beautiful shots, great acting, charming potential. It has humor. It has frightening appearances of semi-well known actors thin as paper to pull off their roles. I'm impressed with Lily Collins' acting. I'm impressed with the message that the movie is trying to pull off.
So what's the tricky part, you ask?
There is way too much hinted at that never gets resolution. Some of the house-members get nothing for story. Some of their behaviors never get explanation. Expulsions are hinted at, but never resolved.
What we have here is that tricky realm of trying to make a movie without beating the audience over the head with a message, and that's just plain hard to do. It's a tightrope walk, and should you veer too far over one side (or the other), you're going down.
This is okay if your focus is only on Ellen's story, while you stop caring about the rest of them, but... They bring them too close to Ellen and too close to the nature of what they are trying to combat to simply disregard them later on, which is where you run into trouble with "message movies".
I always think of the tightrope walk that was Norman Jewison's ...And Justice For All, starring Al Pacino. Talk about being beaten over the head with a message... and yet Jewison still managed to make at least an enjoyable story about it.
But it wasn't Rollerball. It didn't have a driving theme throughout the movie that used its message only as backdrop, while it pushed Jonathan E and his quest to find a way to keep playing the game he loved, even while everything and everyone was trying to push him out. There, the message was behind the story, and we still got it.
Here, the message drives the story, and that doesn't nearly work as well.
I will say this, that it does bring to light a lot about eating disorders and the way the world looks at eating disorders, and there certainly is a lot here that works well at trying to understand how difficult it is to heal from such a thing.
I only wish there was a better movie, behind it all.
- Oct 30, 2018