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NOVA: Dying to Be Thin
NOVA Dying to Be Thin
Actor: Susan Sarandon
Director: Larkin McPhee
Genres: Television, Educational, Documentary
NR     2004     1hr 0min

A 14-year-old looks at her image and says, "I see somebody that is fat and ugly and a disappointment." She is like a growing number of young American girls afflicted with such eating disorders as anorexia nervosa and bulim...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Susan Sarandon
Director: Larkin McPhee
Genres: Television, Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Television, Educational, Science & Technology
Studio: WGBH Boston
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 06/29/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Excellent documentary!
Melissa | Boston | 07/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I was so impressed with Dying to be Thin. I am a graduate student and I used this video while presenting on disordered eating in adolescence. My classmates and professor seemed very receptive to the video. This would be a great video to show to girls ages 15 and up. It focuses on anorexia and bulimia as well as treatments for both."
Very well done.
Elaina | 01/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I had first watched it on the Internet when it first came out, but than saw it again in an eating disorder unit. I found it to be very straight forward. It speaks of the facts concerning eating disorders without any of the other garbage. It gave me a better persepective of what was down the road for me and what the eating disorder had already done."
Excellent Presentation of Some of the Issues of Eating Disor
J. M WILINSKY | teaneck, NJ United States | 01/22/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I have been involved with the analysis of eating disorders for decades, as well as being involved with ballet and athletics, so I feel qualified to comment on this. I was quite surprised and disappointed when this dvd opened with a scathing reproach of all of ballet for promoting disease and destruction in young women. This distorted view is actually corrected later in the program, and the efforts of those in ballet to promote the best possible health of dancers are shown. In this competitive world people will sometimes go too far and make mistakes, but that is not the way it has to be. To be a successful dancer or athlete, excellent stength and health are required. A ballerina must have perfect muscle strength and tone and very strong bones, not just light weight(when lifting a ballerina you must not get the feeling that her ribs will crack! Do you really think ten pounds one way or the other make such a difference?). We also find some confusion here in what constitutes a psychiatric disorder and what is poor judgement. This is a very important distinction in eating problems. Anorexia nervosa is primarily characterized by a distortion of self image and not just by an effort to lose weight. We are shown the cases of a few women who just decided they were making some diet mistakes and decided not to remain excessively thin. One of these young ladies was said to have anorexia. Then why did she have a complete understanding of her body composition and decide on her own to fix it? Other more serious cases requiring psychiatric intervention are also presented. The program does discuss one important aspect that is not discussed elsewhere enough and that is eating disorders among men. Some conjecture is offered as to why it occurs less often among men than women. Do you really think men don't care about their appearance? Actually, differences in how eating disorders affect men and women are not well understood. It would also have been useful to examine another eating disorder that is connected with the desire to be thin and that is obesity. Even thought these distinctions are not brought out to my satisfaction in this program, I still think it is one of the best presentations available and I do recommend it. The real nature of the grief of these case studies is movingly portrayed."
Realistic Portrayal of Eating Disorders, Their Causes and Tr
Elaina | 04/08/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"As a former anorexic, and after watching Thin by Lauren Greenfield, I was pleasantly surprised by this documentary. While perhaps not as visually artistic and with subjects not as shockingly thin as Greenfield's, this piece is ultimately much more even and balanced. It gives a little bit of the history of anorexia and hulimia, briefly discusses the biology of people prone to eating disorders, touches on the trigger points that lead to eating disorders (familial and cultural), shows treatment options and portraits of women who've recovered or are recovering (though not all in this order).

Unlike Greenfield's work, it does not show the drawbacks to treatment facilities (bad influences, competition, learning tricks from fellow patients) nor does it show the difficulty of recovery. It does, however, depict many of the underlying reasons why people develop eating disorders and some of the consequences of eating disorders. By far, the highlight of Dying to Be Thin was the interview with plus-size model (and former anorexic) Kate Dillon--who was, herself, one of my inspirations for recovery. Back in the late nineties, Kate helped me realize that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, but we Westerners try to package beauty in a one-size-fits-all mold, which just isn't real or realistic. In a previous article, Kate said, "We all have different bodies, so why are we trying to make them all look the same." Go Kate!

If you want to watch Thin, definitely watch Dying to Be Thin with it. For more information on what it's like to be trapped in the hell of an eating disorder, read Lauren Greenfield's companion book to the DVD, also titled Thin. And for information on what causes eating disorders and how people deal with life after them, read Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders."