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The Best Movies About Eating Disorders

Updated May 14, 2021 14.4k votes 6.4k voters 265.9k views30 items

List RulesVote up the movies that best portray eating disorders and body image issues.

News of an amazing singer like Karen Carpenter tragically dying, the struggles that athletes, dancers, and gymnastics have over being more thin, people who struggle with body image, and the psychological issues that haunt people who have severe food issues – these are all things that might cross your mind when thinking about eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. These issues are unfortunately prevalent enough in today's society that many films have been made about the subject.

Some of the best movies tell the story of a true event that happened in a person’s life, helping to make something difficult to understand more accessible. Many of the movies featured on this list take an honest look at what makes a person truly struggle with an eating disorder, how it affects their family and close friends and how people who struggle with this disorder can overcome it. Other films are fictional stories, but no less impactful.

This list has the best movies about eating disorders including: To the Bone, Heathers, Girl, Interrupted, Center Stage, and Perfect Body. Vote up your favorite films so other users know what to watch 

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    To the Bone

    Lily Collins, Keanu Reeves

    Released2017

    Directed byMarti Nixon

    Determined to finally confront her anorexia after placed in multiple rehbailitation centers in this powerful drama, Ellen (Lily Collins) sheds light on an everpresent struggle among young women worldwide. 

    More 

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    Sharing the Secret

    Mare Winningham, Diane Ladd

    Released2000

    Directed byKatt Shea

    Beth Moss (Alison Lohman) navigates the challenges of teenage life while coping with bulimia in this televised film based on a true story.

  • 3
    563
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    Perfect Body

    Wendie Malick, Amy Jo Johnson

    Released1997

    Directed byDouglas Barr

    Starring two-time Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby and Amy Jo Johnson, Perfect Body reveals the hidden eating disorders and physical pressures beneath the glitz and glammor of big-time gymnastics.

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    542
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    For the Love of Nancy

    Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tracey Gold

    Released1994

    Directed byPaul Schneider

    Channeling her personal testimony into the protagonist's portrayal, Nancy Walsh (Tracey Gold) addresses her self-induced anorexia nervosa while attending college and rekindling her familial relationships in this made-for-television movie. 

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    Thin

    Shelly Guillory, Brittany Robinson

    Released2006

    Directed byLauren Greenfield

    This educational documentary follows the emotional journey of four Floridian young women struggling with anorexia and bulimia at a treatment center.

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    A Secret Between Friends

    Ryan Reynolds, Lynda Carter

    Released1996

    Directed byJames A. Contner

    Two girls' vanity transforms into bulimia, resulting in a dangerous fight for their lives. 

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    Starving in Suburbia

    Laura Slade Wiggins, Sharon Lawrence

    Released2014

    Directed byTara Miele

    An online platform promoting starvation and thinness causes a suburban teenager to develop anorexia. 

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    Girl, Interrupted

    Angelina Jolie, Winona Ryder

    Released1999

    Directed byJames Mangold

    A young woman (Winona Ryder) at a mental institution grapples with two different worlds, her inner circle and reality, while trying not to succumb to her inmates' eating disorders or perilous lifestyles. Angelina Jolie and Brittany Murphy also star in this classic film, for which Jolie won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. 

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    My Skinny Sister

    Rebecka Josephson, Amy Deasismont

    Released2015

    Directed bySanna Lenken

    A girl entering the world of adolescence copes with older sister's eating disorder while trying to keep her dysfunctional family in line. 

  • 10
    190
    42

    The Road Within

    Zoë Kravitz, Kyra Sedgwick

    Released2014

    Directed byGren Wells

    Two friends suffering from anorexia and OCD join Tourette's Syndrome stricken Vincent (Robert Sheehan) on a road trip to drop his late mother's ashes in the ocean. 

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    Kate's Secret

    Ed Asner, Mackenzie Phillips

    Released1986

    Directed byArthur Allan Seidelman

    A beautiful aerobics-obsessed housewife (Meredith Baxter) secretly suffers from bulimia nervosa in '80s suburbia.

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    The Karen Carpenter Story

    Louise Fletcher, Cynthia Gibb

    Released1989

    Directed byJoseph Sargent, Richard Carpenter

    Cynthia Gibb stars as the late singer Karen Carpenter in this dynamic made-for-television biopic, who ultimately passed from eating disorders.

    More 

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    209
    85

    Dying to Dance

    Kimberly McCullough, Mary-Margaret Humes

    Released2001

    Directed byMark Haber

    A ballerina's struggle with anorexia dangerously affects her health and talent. 

  • 14
    192
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    Hunger Point

    Christina Hendricks, Barbara Hershey

    Released2003

    Directed byJoan Micklin Silver

    Two sisters combat their traumatizing upbringing by overcoming their mother's eating disorder habits. 

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    1
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    First Love

    Michela Cescon, Vitaliano Trevisan

    Released2004

    Directed byMatteo Garrone

    The film deals with anorexia nervosa in a young woman.

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    The Best Little Girl in the World

    Jennifer Jason Leigh, Charles Dunning

    Released1981

    Directed bySam O'Steen

    The Powell parents (Charles Dunning, Eva Marie Saint) try to navigate the recent anorexia nervosa diagnosis of their teenage daughter (Jennifer Jason Leigh). 

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    Black Swan

    Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis

    Released2010

    Directed byDarren Aronofsky

    Winning the Academy Award for Best Actress, Natalie Portman stars in this psychological thriller as the prima ballerina of Swan Lake, doing whatever it takes to prevent Lily (Mila Kunis) from stealing her spotlight. Her loss of appetite and self-inflicted harm ultimately blur the lines between reality and imagination. 

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    75
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    Thirteen

    Vanessa Hudgens, Evan Rachel Wood

    Released2003

    Directed byCatherine Hardwicke

    An honor student befriends junior high's queen bee, ultimately spiraling into a drug-addicted, juvenile delinquent with body issues that develop into an eating disorder. 

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    Center Stage

    Zoe Saldana, Amanda Schull

    Released2000

    Directed byNicholas Hytner

    Twelve driven ballet students edure physical and emotional stress while competing for acceptance at a renowned dance company. 

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    Likeness

    Elle Fanning, Eugenia Kuzmina

    Released2013

    Directed byRodrigo Prieto

    This haunting short film starring Elle Fanning showcases traumatizing visuals of a bulimic teen's distorted image of herself. 

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    Feed

    Alex O'Loughlin, Jack Thompson

    Released2005

    Directed byBrett Leonard

    A cybercrime investigator cracks the case of a serial killer's force-feeding abuse towards innocent, overweight women. 

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    Released2009

    Directed byLee Daniels

    Pregnant by her father for the second time, teenager Claireece "Precious" Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) turns her life around when transfered to an alternative school, escaping her life of oppression to one of self-worth and healtheir choices. 

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    The Machinist

    Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh

    Released2004

    Directed byBrad Anderson

    A factory worker (Christian Bale) who suffers from extreme insomnia plunges into severe paranoia, taking drastic tolls on his mental health, appetite, and eventually his weight.

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    Heathers

    Winona Ryder, Shannen Doherty

    Released1988

    Directed byMichael Lehmann

    A cult classic that paved the way for many iconic chick-flicks, this dark comedy glorifies suicide while providing a window into the pressures of fitting into high school's notorious cliques. 

    More Heathers 

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    Life Is Sweet

    Jim Broadbent, Timothy Spall

    Released1990

    Directed byMike Leigh

    A working class woman takes care of her family in London while dealing with her twin sister's eating disorder.