10 Movies About Anorexia

Finding ten movies about anorexia is a challenge. Few filmmakers have focused on the subjects of anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders. An online search produces a short list of films that includes more documentaries than drama. Here is our list of ten movies about anorexia—mostly low-budget films that were made for television.

  1. "The Best Little Girl in the World" Jennifer Jason Leigh stars as Casey Powell, a teenager secretly suffering from anorexia nervosa. Her condition stems from problems at school and a troubled home life. Casey’s bickering parents must come together to help their daughter recover before her condition kills her. This 1981 television special was nominated for a Primetime Emmy.
  2. "An Anorexic's Tale: The Brief Life of Catherine" Catherine Dunbar was a teenage girl who died after a seven-year battle with anorexia nervosa. Based on a book by Catherine’s mother, Maureen Dunbar, this award-winning TV movie from 1988 stars Susie Lindeman as Catherine.
  3. "The Karen Carpenter Story" Starring Cynthia Gibb as Karen Carpenter, this 1989 television movie recounts the sudden rise and fall of the famous singer and documents her battle with anorexia and bulimia. This television miniseries was nominated for a Primetime Emmy.
  4. "For the Love of Nancy" Tracey Gold stars as Nancy Walsh in this 1994 movie for television. As Nancy enters college, she starts to obsess about her weight, exercising all the time and eating very little. Her parents ignore the changes they see until a shocking moment reveals the extent of her problem. When she resists their attempts to help her, Nancy’s parents make a critical decision to force her into treatment.
  5. "301, 302" This South Korean thriller from 1995 stars Eun-jin Bang and Sin-Hye Hwang as two obsessive-compulsive neighbors—one a chef and the other a bulimic writer. Their relationship grows tense over time, and each is forced to delve into the torments of her past.
  6. "Dying to Be Perfect: the Ellen Hart Pena Story" Crystal Bernard stars as Ellen Hart Pena in this biopic 1996 TV movie. Pena was a world-class athlete and the wife of a Colorado politician. But she also had a dangerous secret—an eating disorder that almost claimed her life and threatened the life of her unborn child.
  7. "When Friendship Kills" When friends Lexi and Jennifer try to get in shape, they become anorexic and bulimic through excessive dieting and vomiting. They keep their obsession a secret until one of them almost dies. Katie Wright and Marley Shelton star in this 1996 television drama.
  8. "A Girl is a Girl" This 1999 Canadian film is a comedy/drama about male-female relationships. Looking for the girl of his dreams, a young man named Trevor (Andrew McIntyre) dates three women in quick succession. The third one, Lisa (Aeryn Twidle) catches his eye. A former model wasting away from anorexia, Lisa hates her body and is unable to get physical with Trevor.
  9. "Hunger Point" Based on a best-selling book by Jillian Medoff, this 2003 television drama stars Barbara Hershey as an overzealous mother trying to keep her daughters thin. This movie profoundly captures the dangers of anorexia and other eating disorders.
  10. "Thin" Shelly Guillory, Alisa Williams, and Polly Williams star as themselves in this film about four South Florida women suffering from anorexia and bulimia. This award-winning documentary from 2006 was nominated for a Primetime Emmy.

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