If you’re a documentary fan, then check out Thin, an amazing little film from HBO. Thin explores the progression of several women who are residents in an eating disorder recovery centre in the United States. One resident is a wayward teen and another is a university educated psychiatric nurse; it quickly becomes apparent that anorexia doesn’t discriminate based on age or education. But, I wonder – given that nearly every one of the residents was Caucasian – if there are some patterns related to ethnicity...? But, I digress...
The women in the centre are each close to or under(!) a hundred pounds and still believe that they have weight to lose. They obsess over every morsel ingested, and then try their damndest to eliminate those morsels by either vomiting or using diuretics, or squeezing the food out of their feeding tubes (yuck!). Sometimes they hide food rather than eating it at all. It’s an enormous struggle – and a tearful event – when one woman is obliged to eat a whole cupcake. With psyches this complex, it’s no wonder that the women have to receive treatment from a whole team of practitioners: counselors, doctors, dieticians, and others.
The film is really well made. It definitely shows the women in an unvarnished light, and the viewer will at times feel both repulsed and sympathetic. But ultimately, this is not a film about anorexia. It does not explain how anorexia comes about or can be prevented; it does not speculate about why or how these particular women fell victim to such skewed views of body and food. Rather, this is a film about women; about feelings; about obsession. And like a lot of other HBO productions, there is no happy ending offered. Indeed, the fates that befall some of the women who are forced to leave the centre are quite saddening. But this isn’t suggary scripted TV; it’s real life. Er - I guess I should say: It’s not TV. It’s HBO. So be prepared for a bit of grit.
Browse some of our documentaries today! And if docs aren’t your thing, then check out HBO’s dramatic shows. Six Feet Under, The Sopranos and Rome are all fabulous!