Feed (2017) Review

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Feed tells the story of Olivia (Troian Bellisario), who struggles to deal with the death of her twin brother, Matthew (Tom Felton) and develops a need for control which leads her to struggle with an eating disorder.

The film was written and produced by Bellisario (and directed by Tommy Bertelsen), and deals with the delicate subject of eating disorders, in particular anorexia nervosa. In an interview with Rotten Tomatoes, Bellisario explains that while the events are not exact, she wrote the film based on her own personal experiences with the disorder.  She also explains that one thing she wanted to do with the film “was to get the audience to understand what it sounds like, and what it feels like, to be struggling with that illness”, and I personally think she achieved that brilliantly, both with the writing and her performance as Olivia.

As some who has personally struggled with this eating disorder, I find it very hard to watch films based around, or including themes of, eating disorders and anorexia nervosa as many films do tend to romanticise the disorder (as is the case with many mental disorders portrayed in television and film if I am to be truly honest), but Feed avoids romaticising it in anyway and shows the disorder for what it is. So often, media portrayals about anorexia nervosa focus on an obsession to be skinny, and while true in some cases, they often avoid the truth that it is more an obsessive need for control. People have a hard time grasping that concept unless they have struggled with it themselves, and what makes this film so successful is it’s ability to highlight that as opposed to focussing on her weight loss or behaviours (they are, of course, present, they are just not focal points in the narrative really), focussing more on the root cause and psychological damage highlights the darker, more honest side that is not often depicted in films.Feed does not need to even mention ‘anorexia nervosa’ for the audience to understand what is really going on. It is a film which allows the audience to get inside the head of the sufferer, to understand that the disorder is not just about food, but rather something which takes over most aspects of life.

Perhaps one of the most interesting plot devices used in Feed, is Matt’s ‘ghost’. As Olivia struggles to come to terms with his death, she begins to see Matt in her dreams up until the point in which he crosses over and blurs her dreams and reality as she begins to see and hear him whilst awake. At first this makes the film start out like being a story about a young woman being haunted by her dead twin brother, but utimately we learn that it is a metaphor for the voice in her head, the inner demon. Eating disorders are like a trusted voice, convincing you of everything that you need to do for control, and Matt is the physical embodiment of this for Olivia. It was a less obvious, more intelligent way that allows the audience to really understand what that voice is like for individuals living with the disorder.

All in all, the film was beautifully haunting. It is an emotional, and personal story with wondeful writing, acting and directing. It depicts the ughly truth of eating disorders with a subtly that makes the experience feel much more authentic. Unfortunately, it is unlikely to get the attention it deserves, but it is a film which I implore anyone to watch.

 

Writing Inspiration

 

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We have all hit writers block at some stage in life, be it during writing an essay for school/college/university, thinking of a new topic to blog about, drawing a blank at how to progress your story or just about any other form of writing. But you can almost guarantee that all of the great writers of past, present and future will have (or will eventually) also experienced  writers block. But eventually we all break out of our slump and become better writers because of it. Writing is not as easy as it seems on paper, a lot of time and thought can go into any piece of writing (unless of course, you’re a 3rd year university student and you have three deadlines that week and you stop caring and spout nonsense in the hopes of passing).

For me, inspiration can be hard to come by. I find myself hitting more obstacles in writing than I feel like I actually overcome, but I still power through because I love to write, and one day I will finish the novel I’ve been working on, if only for myself to read. I have a system to get back into the groove of things now, to get my inspiration. First I read, any of my favourite books are good option, as is any book on my ‘to read’ shelf, but I almost always return to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby‘ in times of need. It is without a doubt my favourite novel, I wouldn’t argue that it’s the best novel ever written, but it is my favourite and never fails to inspire me to start writing again. And then I just write, anything and everything, it could just be writing my thoughts as they come to me, or something as simple as ‘the cat with the hat sat on the mat’, or writing down a bunch of words and trying to formulate a paragraph including them all, anything to get myself back on track. And with the right music and a decent brew, this is usually the point at which I break out of my slump and write with passion again; though sometimes it just naturally comes to me during the process, or before I’ve even begun. But, as I mentioned before, writing isn’t as simple as writing words down (though in essence, it really is as simple as that), and at times even the very thought of writing weighs me down, but there’s a few quotes that motivate and inspire me to continue writing, as well as serving as a good reminder of what writing is, and what we all as writers must do in order to write.

Ernest Hemingway – “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit at a typewriter and bleed.”

Okay, so maybe now it is more we sit at a computer, but the point still stands; when we are writing, we are pouring parts of ourselves into that piece of text, and we pour our blood, sweat, tears, hearts and souls into our writing if it is truly something we’re passionate about. We bleed out all of our ideas, wring them dry until there’s nothing left and we move on to the next idea (and then, especially if it’s a first draft, we go back and edit the whole thing because it’s probably not as great as we thought).

Stephen King – “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
William Faulkner  “Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.

I may not be an established blogger, and I may not be a great writer, but even still, I can’t stress the importance of reading. If we don’t read, we can never hope to further and refine our writing. Without reading, our vocabulary will always be basic, we will never fully be able to develop a style of writing, we will simply miss out on countless lives and stories that will shape us and inspire us to write more. Reading, quite simply, is fundamental.

Robert Frost – “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

If you don’t feel anything when you’re writing, then that really comes across. If you are feeling the emotions you’re writing about then so does the reader, and it’s just as evident if you don’t feel anything, because your writing will be void and your readers won’t feel anything either.

Stephen King – “Amateur writers sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

Writing isn’t a waiting game, if you’re struggling, keep going or focus on writing something else, but whatever you do, keep working and never stop. It’s as simple as that, we all struggle, if you find it painfully hard to write, then read and expand your mind, and then get back to writing. But whatever you do, don’t just dawdle about hoping the inspiration will hit you, because chances are it won’t.

And for now, that’s all I can think to write of, but if anything on the subject comes up again, then I’ll be sure to write another blog post.

Until next time!

-Bo.

 

A Two-Way Street

They say a relationship, of any kind, is a “two-way street”. And there’s a psychological theory that suggests that if you put in more effort to make a relationship work  than the other person, or vice versa, that relationship will eventually break down. Romantic relationships and friendships, and even family relationships come and go; some people grow apart, some get fed up of trying too much when the other person is doing nothing to maintain their relationship and sometimes other people or extraneous circumstances arise. 

I’ve spent most of my life trying to make friendships work, and I always seems to put in more effort than most people. Over the past couple of years I have lost my relationships with the majority of people I worked so hard to maintain. Two of whom I had considered best friends, but it’s funny how once someone has to divide their attention away for whatever reason (in my case it was getting a new job and working full time) people stop caring. Okay, so with one of these relationships there had been several underlying factors that just led to us eventually drifting apart, and that’s okay. But the other seemed to stem from no where and escalated into a mess and I’m not quite sure what happened, just that within a matter of a few weeks we went from talking about everything to not talking at all. Even now I can feel a friendship deteriorating, and I’ve tried but they have evidently just given up.

And now I’m left wondering if it’s something I did, am I the reason that they’re all breaking down? Have they given up on me? Or is it just that now I’m finally putting myself first and I’ve been walked over for most of my life and I’ve had enough? 
But if nothing else, at least I can say I was happy to have had these relationships and I was sad to see them go but I’ve grown so much more as a person without them. So the moral of this blog post is that you shouldn’t distress over relationships of any kind breaking down too much, be happy they happened, be sad they’re over and look forward to the new ones you’ll soon form. 

Until next time!

-Bo.