In the spiral of anorexia

Skin on bones

Wednesday June 2 at 2 p.m. on M6

When their 16-year-old daughter Lara is hit by a car and comes out unharmed, Susanne and Peter are relieved to have missed the disaster. The worst is yet to come. They do not know it yet, but the teenager suffers from anorexia nervosa: intensive sport, avoiding family meals, Lara multiplies the strategies to lose more weight and hides her thinness under layers of loose clothing. It will take a fall in the pool, at a party with neighbors, for the mother to finally discover the naked body of her daughter and suspect a serious problem.

Broadcast on the occasion of World Eating Disorders Day, this German television film was a great audience success across the Rhine, helping to lift the veil on these psychiatric illnesses that are often poorly known to families. Despite a staging without much relief, Skin on bones allows a large public to be alerted to this insidious spiral that is taking place without the knowledge of parents.

The fiction takes the point of view of a united couple attentive to their two children, and traces the different stages of their awareness, of the appearance of disturbing signs (as when Susanne discovers moldy food, hidden behind a chest of drawers in Lara’s bedroom) to the necessary medical care. Disbelief, panic, feeling of guilt … through the wide range of emotional states, we can measure the devastating impact of anorexia on the family (tension in the couple, anxiety of the little brother) and the difficulty in finding the right attitude to help her child. Faced with the promises and lies of a teenage girl in denial, a very common phenomenon, the mother adopts “coping” methods, at the risk of falling into paranoia, while the father, convinced of the temporary nature of this disorder, advocates listening and trust, at the risk of letting the disease take hold.

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