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  • Warning: Spoilers
    Lifetime's latest film, Starving In Suburbia, aired last Saturday and was very good to me. Laura Wiggins (who has already starred in 2 other Lifetime movies, "Girl, Positive" and "The Cheating Pact") did very well in this movie as the insecure teen dancer who turns to anorexia to control her weight. Callie Thorne also does well in the role of the concerned mother trying to help her daughter.

    The premise of the movie is that teen dancer Hannah (Wiggins) is shown a Thinspiration website by a fellow dancer friend, which is a community of people who treat anorexia as a way of life and treat the act of being skinny like a religion. The scenes where Hannah "chats" with ButterflyAna seem a little unrealistic in the way they discuss their intentions, but since I haven't met anyone with anorexia, I might not know how seriously they take weight loss.

    I also applaud the movie's ending, which shows Hannah's wrestler brother, Leo (Brendan Meyer) is revealed to be anorexic after passing out during a match, being hospitalized, and dies. He is also revealed to be a person that tried to warn Hannah early on that ButterlyAna was a bad influence on her. That was a really nice twist, even though I dislike the father's reaction to the revelation ("He's a boy! He's an athlete!" Seriously? Are people really still that naive?)

    Now that I've gotten my praise out of the way, here's some negatives about the movie: 1. The title. I don't feel "Starving In Suburbia" is a good title for it. The original title "Thinspiration" was a better title. 2. The sub-plot involving Hannah and her friend Kayden's boyfriend was pretty unnecessary and could have been cut from the movie entirely. It was dug into for about 2 minutes and was then completely abandoned. 3. In the end, Hannah goes to see ButterflyAna (Izabella Miko) at her house and confronts her about causing her brother's death. How did Hannah find her? I don't think she would've posted her address on the website, and it seems way too convenient that she's within driving distance of Hannah's house. 4. Hannah's confrontation with ButterflyAna felt way too short and kinda shoe-horned in. It should have been at least a few minutes longer.

    But nevertheless, this movie was very good and one of Lifetime's best.
  • This is a theme that women in a society that fixates on being thin and beautiful as a standard of beauty are all that matters, and anything to obtain that perfection is necessary. Having survived both anorexia and bulimia, I related to the characters need and eventual surrender to the voices haunting her inside her head, whether real or imagined. I was also surprised to find hundreds of these websites, active encouraging the desire to starve, to give tips on wasting away as a show of solidarity in a club that is teetering on the destruction of your body, and more importantly your soul. The acting is superb, and the theme is one that needs to be heard. Excellent through and through.
  • It seem like normal movie, but it actually shows you how true it can be if you keep going and hide it from anyone and everyone. your actions will become deadlier as you stop doing what you need to do.

    This movie was as good as what it shows, and it showed. The acting was good and the movie was moving and fast paced. It was fun to watch and gave us a sight of the small things and big thing that can happen.

    The movies focus on the dancer called Anna and her brother who is in a wrestler league competition. food is necessary for both of them, and we start to see some secrets that are left behind can cause very dangerous actions.

    6/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Hells empty, all the devils are here" - Hannah Pagan. Through her terrifying journey with anorexia, Hannah discovers the true meaning of Hell on Earth and what it means to be an addict, in "Starving in Suburbia" directed by Tara Miele. In this film the dangers of "pro- anorexia" websites are demonstrated by exploring one girl's obsession with "thin."

    The opening scenes show a happy healthy size 6; Hannah. She's a dancer working through the stress of applying to colleges and trying to get through her 17th year. A friend is the one who first introduces her to a "thinspiration" site, a website dedicated to helping other girls starve themselves. Which is where she meets a woman under the username "ButterFly-Ana" who decides to take Hannah on as a mentee.

    She goes from a size 6 to a size 4 then 2 and drops down to 100 pounds, a size 0. Her ribs stick out and she faints during dance as "Ana" (anorexia) takes total control of her life. Butterfly-Ana claims to be able to help her lose 20 pounds in 20 days, a feat Hannah never thought possible, her life comes all about refusing food. She gets warned not to listen to Butterfly by another member on the site, HipPopK, who someone knows her name. After discovering who HipPopK is, and losing that person from her life Hannah comes out from under Ana's spell, she reaches out for help and finally ends her obsession.

    While this movie seems to follow a very realistic time line, it all seems to happen rather fast. Hannah's descent into madness occurs practically overnight. She goes from perfect ballerina, straight A princess one day to Ana's slave the next. While eating disorders do control one's life, it's less of a drug addiction, it takes more than once. This movie stands out from the crowd in the fact that it is not exclusive to female eating disorders, it shows that both male and females can equally suffer from this disease. It also shows how parents, no matter how good their intentions are can hurt their children through creating obsessions and starting that addiction to numbers, the one on the scale, the little ones that live in food, the numbers around a waist, a thigh, an arm. Even at a very young age children are aware what their parents think of the numbers, either too high or too high. 4 year old's being put on diets, 8 year old's succumbing to anorexia, driven there by playground bullying or a strict diet placed on overbearing parents who need to have the perfect child.

    Another thing Miele did well was colors, Hannah's room grows darker and darker as her mind does. The movie starts and her room is painted a nice light pink and she has Christmas lights lining her room but when her mother comes in later, and finds the food hidden in her closet her room has become a dark purple and everything is black. Hannah's clothing also follows this trend, especially her dance clothing, on her darkest day she is dressed head to toe in black but when she's in recovery it's an all white dress. This movie could be a huge trigger for some anorexics because it's so realistic. It was painful to watch and of course everyone cried during the death scene but overall I would recommend this film to all, just for fun or as a hard warning.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Props to Lifetime for trying to put a new spin on a movie about eating disorders. The usual suspects don't drive our pretty protagonist to starvation. Instead, it's a website -- more specifically, a woman named "Ana" who runs a website encouraging people to stop eating.

    So the sports/dance/gymnastics instructor is off the hook this time. (Our protagonist is a dancer, but her dance instructor -- and a fellow dancer -- are actually quiet heroes.)

    Just when you think you've found a Lifetime movie without a bad man, well, you see that you haven't. And that's one of the surprises.

    We see glimpses of Bad Daddy in the first hour and 15 minutes, but it isn't until almost the very end when we realize he's set his daughter -- and his son -- up for eating disorder disaster. Plot twist! The brother ends up in the morgue in the end. And his death is just what the protagonist needs to turn it all around -- and to confront "Ana."

    It this stilted final scene, protagonist finds "Ana" in a junkie backyard (think Jaycee Duggard's prison) and asks "Ana" to take down the website because it killed her brother, who was an "Ana" follower first.

    Turns out "Ana," short for anorexia, is really just a sad sack, and our protagonist understands this in the end, telling her as much in a really schmaltzy, unrealistic scene. ("Ana" runs a website with tons of followers, yet lives in a backyard, which could be anywhere in the world but actually turns out to be within walking distance of the protagonist's home. What?)

    Back to the bad man. Dad realizes too late what he's done to his son (and daughter). Mom sees what Dad has been doing, too, with all his expectations and "you can't eat Jello after dinner because you have a wrestling match tomorrow," but Dad is apparently absolved at son's death bed with four little words: "Let's not fight anymore."

    (Dad also doesn't want to fork over the cash to put daughter into an eating disorder clinic, so they don't.)

    I think I see what Lifetime was going for -- a new take on an old problem, a plot twist, a tragedy, a rebirth -- but I think they succeeded by about 30 percent. I found it forced, unrealistic and impossible to connect emotionally to said tragedy.

    Hence the three out of 10.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I must say that I don't really like modern movies about anorexia, or books either for that matter. I grew up in the 90's, and I find that movies and books about the subject had more of a soul back in the 1970's-1990's.

    The more modern works come off as shallow, superficial, and heartless to me.

    When I was about 19 in 1999, I started going on pro-Ana sites, so they are certainly nothing new.

    I felt like I never got to know Hannah, at least not well enough to truly care about her. Her desire to be thin didn't seem very deep to me, so I didn't appreciate it.

    When I was striving to be thin, it wasn't about control, I just hated being fat. I appreciate and sympathize more with those who delve into the lifestyle primarily because they hate being fat. The people who are just control freaks do nothing for me.

    It's always annoying when the female in these types of movies isn't even close to being fat. Laura Wiggins is only 5'1", and Hannah weighed 128 pounds. I don't think Laura Wiggins weighs that much because she still looked rather slim for being so short.

    I found it unbelievable that Hannah couldn't fit a size 6 pair of shorts. She couldn't even get the things up past her knees. Clearly this was all just for show, because the shorts were probably like a double zero or something.

    There were things that didn't make sense. How did Hannah find that one girl she was chatting with online? It seems unlikely that she would just happen to live nearby unless it was a local site.