‘Feed’ is a film which Troian Bellisario (best known as Spencer Hastings on PLL) wrote, produced and starred in. The film is based around an 18 year old girl called Olivia, who suffers from anorexia after losing her twin brother Matt in a car accident. Both highly intelligent twins seem to have been bought up in a pressurising environment (their father seemed very strict and pushy when it came to the twin’s achievements).
*DISCLAIMER: this is only my opinion, and I am aware others may disagree or agree – either way, I’m simply sharing my personal thoughts :)*
The thing I love so much about this movie, something which I could rant about all day long, is how cleverly it represents eating disorders – more specifically, the eating disorder ‘voice’ that many sufferers experience. Throughout the film, after Matt’s unexpected death, Olivia begins to see Matt everywhere – they engage in conversation. Initially, Matt comes across as he was before – the loving brother who only wants the best for his sister. The first warning sign that this is not the case is when he tells Olivia she can eat cookie dough if she gets all the answers right in a test he is providing her with – if not, she gets nothing and he eats the cookie dough instead. This is said in a playful way, but this, to me, was clearly the start of something.
As time goes on, ‘Matt’ continues to be more pushy towards Olivia. Olivia begins to restrict her diet at meal times in order to save food for ‘Matt’, by putting most of her meals into plastic bags and giving them to him to eat (these are later found by the childhood tree in their back garden). ‘Matt’ becomes controlling and abusive as time goes on, yet this is never consistent – there are times at which he comes across as reassuring and friendly, giving Olivia a sense of comfort and happiness.
Viewers whom have not experienced an eating disorder or lack knowledge on this topic may initially see this plot as confusing, or even some sort of supernatural or ghost story: Matt returning from the dead as a ghost, but only Olivia can see him. Eventually, towards the end of the movie, it becomes clear that this is not the case. Matt isn’t really matt, but instead is anorexia, the voice in Olivia’s head that controls her by telling her what to do (like not eat). Olivia could not cope with the loss of her twin and felt as if she had no control; restricting her eating became her way to gain back this control into her life.
I felt like the way this was written is brilliant; it gives an insight of inside the minds of those suffering from an eating disorder (although yes, everyone has different experiences and it is not the same for everyone). It portrays the abusive side of an eating disorder, yet also shows how addictive it can be – the voice can be comforting and like a friend at times. It shows how the ‘voice’ never leaves you alone and how it follows you, taking control of your mind and becoming something you know so well and get so used to.
One question people may have is ‘is the film triggering?’. Everyone finds different things triggering and so this is a hard question to answer. Personally, I did not find it triggering (like I did with To The Bone) – there are not really any purposeful close up body shots (although there is a couple of times that you can see her malnourished body such as when she is sleeping with her boyfriend). There are a few scenes when she refuses or hides food (or gives it to ‘Matt) and so some viewers may find this behaviour of the character triggering, and I’m guessing the verbal comments ‘Matt’ makes could be triggering to some viewers, as it may echo the disordered thoughts that they, too, have to deal with.
Overall, the film, in my opinion, is a brilliant representation of eating disorders (anorexia, to be precise) and the acting in the movie is amazing. The plot is well thought out, realistic and capturing throughout. I would highly recommend this film to people, particularly those wanting to gain a better understanding into eating disorders and the reality of what it’s like to have one.
Thank you for reading!