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September 4, 2015

HBO documentary looks at eating disorders

by Adam Finley, posted Nov 13th 2006 1:02PM

thinTomorrow evening at 9 pm HBO will air Thin, a documentary directed by famous still photographer Lauren Greenfield that looks at the lives of four women trying to overcome eating disorders at the Renfrew Center in Florida, where she previously shot photographs. Greenfield has written about anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders before, once for a 1997 piece for Time. This is her first time directing.

Greenfield stayed at the center for six months in order to obtain access to the patients, their families, and the staff. The documentary will examine not only the women who have improved with the help of the center, but also those who did not, and one who was unable to continue when it was found out her insurance would not pay for her treatment. You can see a trailer for the documentary here.

I'd love to see more documentaries like this to balance out the onslaught of media images that make pencil-thin appear to be the norm, when anyone with optic nerves knows that's not the case. Not to say that overweight men aren't also stigmatized, but it's especially true for younger women and girls.

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Barb - the last time I looked Thin was posted in parts on YouTube...

November 29 2006 at 2:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Okay i have struggled with an eating disorder since the age of 13 and i am 17 years old i have been in the hospital 7 times
I think this movie is very triggering to people with an eating disorder showing there weights and everything and you may say just dont watch but know matter how far along in treatment you are there is a part of you that cant help but watch it my friend that i meant the first time i was in treatment at the age of 15 we are very close now and we support each other 110% she is doing better then me but even she couldnt help but watch it she has been in recovery for almost a year now but you should no ppl with eating disorder can just go back like that luckly we support each other and i would never let this happen to her she only watched a few clips and it brought her back to the feeling she once had ..We go shopping all the time and try not to bring up weight we try to eat like normal people but there is a side of us that will never think of food the same way ed is always at the back of our mind trying to ease his way back and showing that video makes him very happy to distory people life againg so when the rest of the world gets scared of the images of those girls also remeber the the girls with the eating disorders who envy them...please

November 22 2006 at 10:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I find it hard to believe that tv junkie even watched this film. Just eat? If anything, anyone who finds themselves on the verge of an eating disorder will see this documentary as Scared Straight for pre-Bulimics and Anorexics. These girls are TRAPPED in this illness - that's clear to anyone who watched. I personally don't suffer from an eating disorder, but I found myself feeling their hopelessness so vividly it was heartbreaking.
I also find it interesting that Tiffany thinks we are overlooking the obesity epidemic. But when was the last time you saw a well crafted documentary on eating disorders? There is room in the public debate for programs for both problems, especially if they are as well-formed and thoughtful as Thin.

November 21 2006 at 4:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I watched the tail end of the HBO documentary THIN and was horrified. I too wonder how anyone could watch that young girl curling into herself asking to die, asking to be left alone and so very sad about having been the little fat girl all of her childhood and not feel anything except anger. I invite the writer of the above negative comments to look deep with him/herself and get to the bottom of why another's pain instigates anger and not compassion. I agree that this countries varied eating disordered behavior is not about the food and not limited to anorexia nervosa, but we must start somewhere. I applaude the women who agreed to be a part of the documentary and HBO for bringing it to a public. A very close friend of mine is suffering with a eating disorder and for the first time I think I truly understood where she is coimng from and what she is going through.
THANK YOU ladies and Thank you HBO!



November 15 2006 at 9:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would like to be able to see the video THin on television. I do not get HBO and really wanted to see it as a recovering eating disorder person myself. Also those who tend to lash out and make negative comments are usually those who do not understand. Walk a mile in someone elses shoes then you can comment on it.

November 15 2006 at 2:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This message is directed at the first two women who feel "It is better to be underweight than overweight" and "...enough with this eating disorder crap!" Additionally, this is to all the women who are battling this disease...As one "enlightened" woman reported, if one does any research on the topic, one would find that eating disorders have NOTHING to do with FOOD and wanting to be so THIN that people find you so disgusting to look at; eating disorders, whether anorexia, bulimia, or COMPULSIVE OVEREATING, are a symptom of an underlying issue that we cannot face; therefore, we USE our eating disorder to help us COPE and CONTROL our feelings and emotions. I am a recovering anorexic, who spent a month at the Renfrew Center in Philadelphia, and I was in treatment with the most emaciated and women who were OVERWEIGHT...BTW - To all my fellow Frewmates from that summer ~ "KEEP ON SWIMMING!!!" Anyway, not at any time did anyone there make a derogatory comment about the "OBESE" women because we all knew they were struggling with some of the same issues that we were - they just used a different COPING mechanism...so maybe instead of complaining about the "ANOREXICS" who should just eat, or the BULIMICS who should just stop shoving their fingers down their throats; maybe you can offer us an alternative, because in some cases our only alternative is death ~ and someitmes that seems like a better option to people like "US."

November 14 2006 at 8:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Re: tv junkie
As a young woman struggling with an Eating Disorder, I find your comment flat-out ignorant and rude. While debatable exactly how a person falls into an Eating Disorder, once under it's grip it is a disease JUST AS PARALYZING and HARD TO FIGHT as any other. If you had cared to do any research, you would know that an Eating Disorder has practically nothing to do with wanting to be a model or with "image." The eating, losing weight, and common desire to be "thin" are merely SYMPTOMS of a much deeper and complex emotional disorder/disease. "please just eat and stop obsessing over your image" ...? Wait, seriously? I mean, don't you suppose if it were THAT EASY, there would be no such thing as an Eating Disorder!? No such thing as support groups, specialized therapists, and treatment centers!? This disease is serious. It is a killer. It robs those of their lives and will to live. It is a Hell with a seemingly impossible chance of escape. If you're so disgusted, it's as simple as changing the channel. No one is forcing you to watch or to care, which makes me wonder why you left any comment at all. This documentary isn't "entertainment news." It isn't women in the celebrity spotlight. It is voicing the real-life struggle of individuals who already feel like they aren't being heard. With so little attention paid and help available for sufferers: the more recognition, the better.

P.S. Thx Lynn. :]

November 14 2006 at 6:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Anorexia is a REAL disorder and if it takes "Extra" or "Entertainment Tonight" to bring it into the open .....then HALLELUJAH!!!! This doesn't happen to people who a "just obsessing" about their image. These people are suffering and they deserve to be heard.

November 14 2006 at 1:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tv junkie

I don't want to be mean or anything, but enough with the eating disorder crap!!!!!! sure, some people are actually really threaten by this disease unwillingly. But lets face it, most of them did it to themselves! i have no compassion for these crazy skinny image obsess girls whatsoever! and note to HBO, seriously? you guys are doing this documentary...the kind of stunts pulled by crappy cheesy entertainment shows like "Entertainment Tonight" or "Extra" countless of times already. HBO, seriously? you guys have sunk to that point? if i want to see skinny girls feeling sorry for themselves for wanting to be models and eating papers to stay thin, i'll watch those cheesy entertainment news instead, not on HBO. i think this kind of shows just encourage skinny girls to stay skinny to get their five seconds of fame. please, if you have eating disorder, please just eat and stop obsessing over your image and do not call tv networks to film your struggles because reading about skinny celebrity in tabloid is enough for the rest of us.

November 13 2006 at 7:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The media's over-obsession with the "problem of thin" frustrates me to no end. What about the OBESITY EPIDEMIC? The media should focus on the devastating effects of obesity -- such as higher risk of heart disease and diabetes, and shorter life spans. It's better to be underweight than overweight. We should have more documentaries on how people get fat, and how they have to have treatment to lose weight. Come on, stop focusing on the few underweight Americans and start dealing with the problem of 58 million overweight Americans.

November 13 2006 at 6:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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