The Controversial Keanu Reeves Drama On Netflix That Some Wanted Banned

By Steven Nelson | Published

keanu reeves

Dive into the raw and deeply emotional world of To The Bone, a drama that finds its way to the Netflix library, shedding light on the complex struggles surrounding eating disorders. Starring the ever-versatile Keanu Reeves alongside the brilliant Lily Collins, the film delves into topics often skirted around in mainstream media.

With Reeves taking on a pivotal supporting role, this film offers a poignant narrative that is sure to tug at the heartstrings of many, and maybe, just maybe, spark a more open conversation about the realities of these challenges.

Lily Collins and Keanu Reeves star in To the Bone on Netflix

To The Bone unfolds the story of Ellen, a 20-year-old aspiring artist played by the compelling Lily Collins, who has battled anorexia for the majority of her young life. Her journey, marked by multiple failed recovery programs, has left her family on the verge of desperation.

In a last-ditch effort to help Ellen, they send her to a group home led by the unconventional Dr. William Beckham, portrayed by the enigmatic Keanu Reeves.

Within this non-traditional treatment center, Ellen interacts with other residents, each struggling with their own disorders, forming both bonds and tensions. Key among them is Luke, played by Alex Sharp, a ballet dancer who has his own history with anorexia. 

The story, while revolving around Ellen’s journey towards self-acceptance and recovery, also touches upon the dynamics of her dysfunctional family, with notable performances from Carrie Preston and Lili Taylor as her stepmother and mother, respectively. And of course, there was Keanu Reeves who is playing against type here.

The film weaves the complexities of the disorder with the personal relationships of those affected, presenting a heart-wrenching yet hopeful tale of resilience and recovery.

keanu reeves lily collins

To The Bone garnered mixed reactions upon its release. From a critical perspective, many lauded the performances, particularly that of Lily Collins, who underwent a physical transformation for the role, and her on-screen chemistry with Keanu Reeves. 

Critics appreciated the film’s attempt to bring to the forefront a topic that is often left in the shadows, recognizing its genuine intentions and the honest portrayal of a challenging subject.

To the Bone was met with controversy surrounding its portrayal of anorexia and other eating disorders

However, the film was not without controversy. A significant portion of the audience and certain advocacy groups voiced concerns over the movie’s depictions of anorexia and other eating disorders.

Some believed that certain scenes could potentially trigger vulnerable viewers, arguing that the graphic visuals and discussions related to calorie counting and weight might inadvertently glamorize or oversimplify the disorder.

The debate revolved around whether or not the movie was a realistic portrayal or whether it risked exacerbating misconceptions and potentially harmful behaviors. While Keanu Reeves wasn’t at the center of these aspects of the film, his role was important in the overall narrative.

Adding to this was the spotlight on Lily Collins’s weight loss for the role, which raised questions about the ethical implications and the potential dangers for an actress to undergo such a transformation, especially given that Collins herself has spoken about her own past struggles with eating disorders.

Despite the backlash, this Lily Collins and Keanu Reeves film spurred essential conversations about the nature of anorexia, the responsibility of media in portraying sensitive subjects, and the broader discourse on mental health. It’s worth noting that many viewers also saw To The Bone as an insightful look into a misunderstood disorder, valuing its contribution to raising awareness and reducing stigma.

Even with its controversies, To The Bone remains a notable entry in the annals of Netflix’s diverse filmography. With committed performances from Keanu Reeves and, especially, Lily Collins, the film bravely delves into the complexities of anorexia, aiming to shed light on a topic shrouded in misunderstanding.

While it may not resonate with everyone, it undeniably sparks conversation – a testament to the power of cinema. For those interested in a raw and emotional journey, paired with the gravitas Keanu Reeves and the vulnerability Collins bring to the screen, To The Bone is available for streaming, offering viewers a chance to reflect on the profound battles many silently face.