My reading hasn’t quite picked up its momentum from last month, but I did have more literary gems thrown in here for which I’m grateful.
In total I read 15 books in July:
I unexpectedly sat dawn to watch the Netflix film To the Bone in one sitting.
Trigger warning: eating disorder.
I’ve been putting off watching this particular film for a while now because of the potential triggers it may cause. In the end I decided to give it a chance based on this Buzzfeed article featuring the poem “Courage” by Anne Sexton. I was curious to then experience the written piece on screen to see if it would hold a different punch/ impact once spoken out loud instead of in your head. I was mainly thinking about how Hannah Baker’s poem in 13 Reasons Why felt like a visceral change from reading it alone.
Speaking of the later, the post linked below is a crucial one to consider:
So I was still hesitant for the first ten minutes of To the Bone, fearing the usage of grotesque and triggering images to tell Ellen’s tale. But I gradually leaned into the unraveling and development of the story when I realized that this film is focused mainly on the recovery of the character as she battles anorexia, rather than having an hour focused on the triggering bits and then ten minutes of recovery in a montage-esque bit, as many media pieces (books and movies) have done in the past. So the entire premise being set around joining Dr. William Beckham’s inpatient program on the road to recovery felt like the weight of the world was removed off my shoulders. Side note: I did end up having to avert my eyes off the screen a handful of times, but compared to what I was initially expecting, I felt out of the woods by the end of it.
I was then consequently won over by the utterly phenomenal characters introduced into Ellen’s life. From the honest and sage adviser Dr. William Beckham, played by Keanu Reeves, to the upbeat ballet dancer, Luke, always ready to act as a moral cheerleader (and a complete show stealer) for those in need, to the five additional women and girls being treated alongside Ellen. Each brings with them a shattering and unflinching clarity to the screen.
However, To the Bone had me so essentially enraptured in all the characters thanks to its ability to capture the moments that go by unnoticed but end up meaning so very much to the overarching theme. There’s meaningful intention behind every little gesture and glance exchanged between the different characters, and getting to experience and take notice of it from the sidelines felt pretty groundbreaking.
Another thing I would like to highlight was the downright amazing and vibrant performance made by Lily Collins, who plays the main character Ellen. After having read and reviewed her book of essays earlier this year, I was more than curious to see her take on such a personal role. It’s needless to say that she was more than resounding and full of magnitude.
The film is equal parts dynamic, honest, goofy, dark, and whimsy with a noteworthy ending. Plus, the soundtrack left me with a resounding yes and an unparalleled need to hear every song over and over.
That was my July wrap-up, thank you for reading!