Movies about Eating Disorders

Offering education and advice, movies about eating disorders and the stories they tell are as informative as they are inspirational.

It is estimated that 10 million Americans, men and women, suffer from eating disorders. Eating disorders refer to conditions which involve various abnormal eating habits which range from eating too little food to eating enormously large amounts of food. Many people have encountered the two most common eating disorders, bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. Bulimia nervosa is a condition where an individual eats a lot of food but of which is later vomited so that the person gets rid of the food from their body. Anorexia nervosa, on the other hand, will involve an individual limiting their usual food intake.

These eating disorders have taken a worldwide diagnosis to the extent that movies and documentaries have been produced to shed light on the matter. There are many movies and documentaries which people have found useful in helping them curb with a particular eating disorder. Here we take a look at some of the most watched and best-produced movies about eating disorders.


Thin is an excellent documentary about eating disorders and it is a film by Lauren Greenfield. This documentary is centered on the lives of Shelly, a twenty-five-year-old psychiatric nurse, Alisa, a thirty-year-old mother of two, Polly who is twenty-nine-years-old and Brittany who is 15. The lives of these four women are impacted by bulimia in many different ways. Alisa, for instance, joins the Air Force in a bid to keep her weight down. Brittany suffers a great deal when she loses weight and after that swears never to gain weight again. She prefers death to weight gain. This shows the depth that most people would go to prevent themselves from putting on extra weight including bulimia nervosa. Polly, on the other hand, tried to commit suicide which led to her being admitted to a Florida clinic which specializes in the treatment of bulimia patients.

This great documentary provides a lot of insight into the lives of people living with eating disorders, and most viewers have found Thin to be more interesting, educational and attractive than most documentaries about eating disorders.

Perfect Illusions

Perfect Illusions is a documentary hosted by Lauren Hutton and it documents the lives of four families who have been impacted by eating disorders. In the documentary, the issue of eating disorders has been given the relational scope to the family structure that most people overlook. The documentary brings to light how young women, especially, struggle to hide the discomfort and the menace of eating disorder behind a veil of perfect illusion. This documentary is a great recommendation for most young women out there who may consider taking on an eating disorder. It is also quite effective in early education intervention on educating everyone on eating disorders.

Dying to Be Thin

When analyzing great documentaries on eating disorders, you will always be entangled in the intricate nature of NOVA: Dying to Be Thin, which is a documentary on a fourteen-year-old's desire to be thin. The documentary provides statistics and intellectual figures of the growing number of women who are dissatisfied with their natural bodies and who are ready to do anything to avoid getting fat. These young women are further influenced by the media flaunting the amazing figures of popular actresses and the facts portrayed in media images where these celebrities seem to weight much less than the majority of Americans. Dying to Be Thin also brings into focus the many students, performers, such as ballet dancers, and fashion models who have either, overcome their disorder, or are struggling to do so.

Dying to Be Thin is a more educational documentary because it also sheds light on the scientific advances that are being made by specialists to diagnose and treat these eating disorders. The film, hosted by Susan Sarandon and Larkin McPhee, is one of the greatest documentaries about eating disorders.

Sharing the Secret

Sharing the Secret is an outstanding movie about eating disorders. Eating disorders can affect many people, but there is always a particular group of people who may be prone to a specific illness. Sharing the Secret is a movie that tells the life of a young lady whose grades at school start to drop for reasons best known to her. Further into the film, we are made aware of the malice that affects this young woman. Everything about her secrets and miseries seems to center on her body. She is striving to maintain a perfect body, and she is afraid to discuss the issue with her mother. It is a typical scenario of what happens with many young women: secrets and failures in life which may only result from her struggles with her physical imperfections. There are many similar cases to the one presented in the movie most of which have also been highlighted in similar movies about eating disorders.

Kate's Secret

Movies about eating disorders could not be any clearer than this film which features Meredith Baxter, Shari Belafonte, and Ben Masters. In Kate’s Secret, the audience’s attention is captured by Meredith, who has every indication of a bulimia victim. The movie also points out the help that family and friends should provide to help one get over bulimia. The support and encouragement of her husband Ben, her friend Shari and Dr. Resnick will prove monumental in helping her overcome the urge to binge eat and vomit. Her fellow patients help her to reconcile with her condition. It is taught here that acceptance of one’s condition is the initial step to the successful treatment and recovery from the disorder. Most of the people who have watched this movie argue that it is one of the frankest regarding bringing out the bulimia problem that affects most of us.

For the Love of Nancy

Most movies about eating disorders will dwell on one particular type of nervosa, well for this 1994 television film directed by Paul Schneider, anorexia nervosa was the subject content. Like most movies, For the Love of Nancy is based on a true story regarding the real-life experiences of the leading actress, Tracey Gold, a former anorexic. This 100-minute film features Tracey Gold, Cameron Bancroft, Jill Clayburgh, Michael MacRae and Marc-Paul Gosselaar. The film tells a story of anorexia in a sensitive and compelling manner, making it one of the finest documentaries about eating disorders, like many others that have been produced before it. It forces the audience to form a personal connection with the characters in the film, and you end up hoping for the very best ending for the family in the movie. The main actress, Tracey, brings her best acting by drawing closer her experiences in the hope that the audience may get some inspiration or education from her story. For the Love of Nancy tells a similar story of other movies about eating disorders but in quite a more realistic way.

Hungry for Change

Unlike most documentaries about eating disorders, the film, Hungry for Change exposes the truth that’s hidden by food manufacturing industries. These are secrets that will blow your mind. It tells of the reasons behind a person’s obsession with a particular food product. An obsession to want more of a certain food product is one of the many reasons why people end up overweight, without even having the intention. The documentary provides an insight into these cases which are the results of many eating disorders, in addition to interviews with individuals who have suffered the same fate in the past. 

Perfect Body

Many movies about eating disorders shed light on the reasons why some people become victims of either anorexia or bulimia nervosa, and so does the film, Perfect Body. This movie tells the story of an ambitious gymnast who will do everything to make sure she lands a spot on the Olympics Gymnastics team. The film features a two-time Olympic gymnast, Cathy Rigby, who acts as an assistant coach. In the film, the young gymnast, Andie, is driven by her coach’s words that for her to be the best, she had to be much lighter. This acts as the motivation and perhaps the cause for her delving into an eating disorder. movies about eating disorders will concentrate on different characters, and this one tells the story that many athletes may face and the connection to eating disorders.

Elvis and Anabelle

This movie tells a story of two young adults, a young man Elvis and a lady Anabelle. Elvis feels trapped by his father’s demands that he practices in the family’s mortuary even though he does not have a valid license. On the other hand, Anabelle’s story, tells the perfect picture of a girl, whose mother’s obsession with body perfection compels her to do everything to fit in. Eating disorders can be associated largely with the physical appearance of a person as portrayed in the movie. Elvis and Anabelle are forced to flee their homes and go on a road trip for purposes of self-discovery saving each other from suicide early on. Although not intricately placed and directed, Elvis and Anabelle is a great movie about eating disorders featuring amazing characters.

Eating disorders can be overcome, especially with the help of a specialist and the support of close family members and friends. As with any disease, eating disorders affect the individual differently, but often consume them wholly. Being educated about what to look for in others who may have eating disorders and knowing that there is help out there for those who may suspect they have an eating disorder is imperative. Knowledge is power.

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