Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Shelly Guillory, Alisa Williams, Polly Williams
Director: Lauren Greenfield
Genres: Special Interests, Television, Documentary
The HBO Documentary film Thin takes us inside the walls of Renfrew Center, a residential facility for the treatment of women with eating disorders, closely following four young women (ages 15 - 30) who have spent their liv... more »
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Member Movie Reviews
Carrie W. (Roxiesox25)
Reviewed on 4/22/2011...
A very well done documentary about young women in an eating disorder treatment facility. This documentary really shows what it is like to suffer from these disorders without glamorizing them. The women who are the focus of the documentary are real people, and you get to really like, and understand them. Lauren Greenfield is a fantastic photographer and filmmaker. Thin is an excellent, and informative, documentary.
"I Used To Have A Personality"--"Thin" Deftly Examines Those
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 11/17/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Through the years, I have had several friends with anorexia and/or bulimia--so when I saw this HBO documentary, I thought I'd give it a look. "Thin" tells the story of Florida's Renfrew Center which is a treatment facility for eating disorders. Following four women specifically, we see some of their emotional highs and lows and the Center's process of recovery in great detail. I've always associated eating disorders with younger (college or high school age) women, so for me it was fascinating to see the diverse cross section of older and even well-established women facing these issues.
The women are candid and it seems as if we have an all access look into their lives. Particularly interesting to me is how supportive friendships can be formed--but in some cases, those can also be enabling. One clique, in particular, starts to take on a negative image when they start disregarding the rules. The sincerity of some of the women wanting to get well is always a question--some work the program hard, some fight it. And the staff must be caring, yet tough enough to cut through the hypocrisy and deception. "Thin" also gives us a glimpse into some of the family dynamics which might have helped to trigger these illnesses. One of the most memorable moments for me is when a mother came to visit. She sits down to lunch with her daughter who is required to eat, and she disparages and picks apart the food served. She is absolutely oblivious to the negative implication this might have on her daughter.
Near the beginning of the picture, one of the women remarks about her life--"I used to have a personality." This is an interesting and powerful idea. The women in trouble have gotten so caught up in their illnesses, they've forgotten how to live. And this notion is repeated throughout by many of the patients. In one of the more moving confessions, one 25 year old patient speculates what her life might have been like had she gotten treatment when she was 15. It's so emotionally raw (she is trying to convince 15 year old Brittany to take advantage of her youth) because she recalls all the normalcy and joy she has missed out on.
Ultimately, this is a documentary. There is no happy Hollywood conclusion, just an insightful look into an all too prevalent problem. KGHarris, 11/06."
Glimpse into Eating Disorder Thinking & Treatment
Diana Scherff | Los Angeles, CA | 06/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I definitely agree that this documentary is limited in it's portrayal of the "reality" of eating disorders and treatment. For several reasons, this still isn't the ULTIMATE look into the lives of eating disordered patients, though it's the best to date. Patients do die as a result of eating disorders, 7%-10%, a fact that is not made out as a very serious in this film, any one of the women portrayed were on the brink when they arrived. You lose the fact that most eating disorder patients, patients with symptoms as serious as those of Shelly and even those with less serious symptoms, spend their ENTIRE LIVES fighting. Spending years in many different types of treatment, being treated, inside & outside residential treatment centers, as if they should "just eat" because family members and friends don't understand. As frustrated as those around us can get, understanding the thinking seems to be harder than most any other "mental" illness, because why can't we "just eat?" I think this film does a good job of portraying how nurses and other personnel act towards patients, and how patients, both inside and outside of treatment, feel that they are not only misunderstood, but basically treated as though our illnesses are just a burden, so "get over it" so to speak, when in fact it is MUCH more complicated.
The only other thing left out of this movie is the fact that men can also have eating disorders and that there are treatment centers out there that are for males AND females, though many are just for females. From my viewpoint, the film also shows the importance of small 6-8 patient residential treatment centers since at least three of the four patients left too abruptly and returned to their disordered behavior immediately after leaving treatment. Such a large group as The Renfrew Center allows "cliques" to form, rivalries, and lack of trust which is a major source treatment failure because patients won't open up to one another. In regards to the facility in this film, the life of a patient is also limited, whereas other treatment centers with fewer patients find help not just through talking & eating together, but through learning how to be comfortable with everyday tasks like grocery shopping, eating at restaurants, finding hobbies that bring them joy, and many other "outings" to treat the whole person and prepare them for a completely new (and hopefully improved) life without an eating disorder.
The description above "Thin offers hope, but no happily-ever-after ending for these women" is truely the lesson of the disorder and of this film. Like alcoholism, you never truely "recover," but if you are one of the lucky ones, you can reach a state of constantly being "in recovery," always with starvation and purging in the back of your mind.
Insurance companies today have somehow moved up in rank over our doctors, telling us when we're well, what medications we can take, and what treatments will work, despite the fact that they don't know us, don't have medical degrees, and don't know anything about anything. The statement made "People treat it like a cold, but it's more like cancer" is not only how PEOPLE treat eating disorders, but how INSURANCE treats them. This film should stand as a testament to all eating disorders who are still struggling due to insurance companies who WON'T LET US GET HELP."
Impressively done and very graphic
K. M. Olmstead | Grand Island, NY | 01/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As someone recovering from an eating disorder, I have noticed that there is a continuing problem with much of the eating disorder literature and media available today; while it effectively serves as an educational tool for those trying to understand the dark world of eating disorders, it can often serve as a trigger for those trying to recover from an eating disorder. However I have found that Lauren Greenfield's work, both on her Thin documentary and book, does not do this. In fact, Greenfield's work is the first piece of information on eating disorders that has truly repulsed me from the very condition of having an eating disorder. This is the first time I have ever felt this way, and that is very significant, because the difficult part of breaking away from disordered eating is actually seeing that it is a repulsive act.
For this reason, I highly recommend both the book and the documentary for those who actively want to recover, and need inspiration, and to those who are having a difficult time understanding why a friend or loved one is going through it. Greenfield pulls no punches and does not sugar coat any aspect of the girls recovering at the Renfrew Center in Florida (to my knowledge there are no males shown at this facility when the filming occurs, despite the fact that there are men with eating disorders too) Be warned the footage is graphic - there is a lot of vulgar language, views of these women throwing up (one even literally tosses her small dog out of the bathroom, then locks the dog in a crate just so she can have privacy while she vomits), and both the book and the DVD show women's scarred bodies both from self-mutilation and from suicide attempts.
All in all, I am very impressed with Greenfield's work. Well done.