Film Review: Likeness
Elle Fanning (15 years old and the younger sibling of Dakota Fanning) stars in Likeness. Likeness is a film about the maddening horrors of eating disorders and is directed by cinematographer Rodrigro Prieto (Wolf of Wall Street). Prieto made this film with the help of his daughter, Ximena. His daughter has struggled with body image and eating disorders.
Likeness starts from the view of Elle Fanning walking around a party full of stick-thin models. The models she sees are meant to represent the images and messages that are sent to young girls every day regarding appearance. Everything gets a bit quiet and we see Elle go into a bathroom and take a look at herself in the mirror and she sees a much distorted image of herself, showing what I’m assuming is her perception of herself. She then quickly goes and throws up in the toilet and goes back out to the party as if nothing happened. When she goes back out to the party, it is nothing like we saw at first. It seems like a normal get-together of high school teenagers.A friend asks her if everything is alright, she says yes and then it continues on to show what I took as her discomfort being in her own skin amongst her peers.
In my opinion, Likeness touches on an issue that I think should be recognized more. Eating disorders are a huge thing among young girls now. There are studies that state the following: 8 million people in the United States suffer from eating disorders, 8 out of 10 women aren’t happy with their reflection, 2/3 of American women have disordered eating patterns, 78% of 17 year old girls are unhappy with their bodies, 80% of ten year old girls have tried a diet, the current media ideal of thinness is achieved by less than 5% of the female population, only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful and in your lifetime around 50,000 people will die as a direct result of their Eating disorder.
Just doing this research on this topic made me realize how little I knew about how this affects the world. For Prieto and his daughter, creating this film was therapeutic for them. “This was an important healing device for us, and hopefully a way to help other kids say, ‘I feel like that. I understand that,’” Prieto says. “It’s about being in a society where we feel judged, and are judging ourselves.”
Likeness really hit home for me in how I judge myself constantly. It’s funny because we are most beautiful in our youth yet we are so hard and judgmental of ourselves. Even though Likeness is reflecting on the point of view of a teenage girl, I think it’s important to be said that this disease can affect men, too. It is great that Prieto created this film and he is a man, I think that speaks volumes. It is definitely becoming more recognized that eating disorders are a very real and big thing. I know that they have 12-step meetings for people with eating disorders just like they do for alcoholics and addicts. Likeness was very moving and meaningful for me and I recommend for everyone to see it. If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-888-672-4435.