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Product Details

  • Producers: Lauren Greenfield
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: September 2, 2008
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000HEVZA8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #222,355 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Thin" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Thin (DVD)

A compelling film that delves into the lives of young women with eating disorders, the HBO documentary Thin offers sobering insight into why anyone would sacrifice her health for the pursuit of unrealistic body perfection. Set in a Florida clinic that specializes in treating patients with bulimia (binge eating followed by self-induced vomiting) and anorexia (consuming barely enough to survive), the film introduces viewers to four women. Shelly, 25, is a psychiatric nurse who weighs 86 pounds. Talking to her therapist, she says, "I used to have a personality." Alisa, 30, is a mother of two small children who joined the Air Force to lose weight. Though she seems to be the perfect patient, it's obvious her eating disorder has taken control of her life. She just wants to be thin, she says, and "if it takes dying to get there, so be it." Polly, 29, checked herself in for treatment after a suicide attempt. The cause? She had allowed herself to eat two pieces of pizza. Brittany, 15, grew up watching her mother--who also has an eating disorder--behave compulsively around food. Once weighing 185 pounds, Brittany dropped to almost half her weight in a year, causing severe liver damage. When her insurance runs out, the teenager has to leave the clinic. The last group meeting she attends with her fellow patients is heartbreaking. As she sobs, it's obvious she'd rather die of starvation than risk being heavy again. Even when a 28-year-old patient tries to convince her that she is young enough to change her life around, Brittany cries that death is a better option than being fat. Filmed in a matter-of-fact manner by director Lauren Greenfield, Thin offers hope, but no happily-ever-after ending for these women. It will be a struggle for them to eat--and not purge--once they leave the clinic. And the documentary leaves viewers hoping the best for these tortured women, but realizing that some of them might not make it. --Jae-Ha Kim

Customer Reviews

This was an excellent, no holds barred look at eating disorders.
L. Heaton
Very interesting documentary with a look inside a treatment center for women with eating disorders.
Shelly was on so many pills she probably should have also gone into detox.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Through the years, I have had several friends with anorexia and/or bulimia--so when I saw this HBO documentary, I thought I'd give it a look. "Thin" tells the story of Florida's Renfrew Center which is a treatment facility for eating disorders. Following four women specifically, we see some of their emotional highs and lows and the Center's process of recovery in great detail. I've always associated eating disorders with younger (college or high school age) women, so for me it was fascinating to see the diverse cross section of older and even well-established women facing these issues.

The women are candid and it seems as if we have an all access look into their lives. Particularly interesting to me is how supportive friendships can be formed--but in some cases, those can also be enabling. One clique, in particular, starts to take on a negative image when they start disregarding the rules. The sincerity of some of the women wanting to get well is always a question--some work the program hard, some fight it. And the staff must be caring, yet tough enough to cut through the hypocrisy and deception. "Thin" also gives us a glimpse into some of the family dynamics which might have helped to trigger these illnesses. One of the most memorable moments for me is when a mother came to visit. She sits down to lunch with her daughter who is required to eat, and she disparages and picks apart the food served. She is absolutely oblivious to the negative implication this might have on her daughter.

Near the beginning of the picture, one of the women remarks about her life--"I used to have a personality." This is an interesting and powerful idea. The women in trouble have gotten so caught up in their illnesses, they've forgotten how to live.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By K. M. Olmstead on January 17, 2007
Format: DVD
As someone recovering from an eating disorder, I have noticed that there is a continuing problem with much of the eating disorder literature and media available today; while it effectively serves as an educational tool for those trying to understand the dark world of eating disorders, it can often serve as a trigger for those trying to recover from an eating disorder. However I have found that Lauren Greenfield's work, both on her Thin documentary and book, does not do this. In fact, Greenfield's work is the first piece of information on eating disorders that has truly repulsed me from the very condition of having an eating disorder. This is the first time I have ever felt this way, and that is very significant, because the difficult part of breaking away from disordered eating is actually seeing that it is a repulsive act.

For this reason, I highly recommend both the book and the documentary for those who actively want to recover, and need inspiration, and to those who are having a difficult time understanding why a friend or loved one is going through it. Greenfield pulls no punches and does not sugar coat any aspect of the girls recovering at the Renfrew Center in Florida (to my knowledge there are no males shown at this facility when the filming occurs, despite the fact that there are men with eating disorders too) Be warned the footage is graphic - there is a lot of vulgar language, views of these women throwing up (one even literally tosses her small dog out of the bathroom, then locks the dog in a crate just so she can have privacy while she vomits), and both the book and the DVD show women's scarred bodies both from self-mutilation and from suicide attempts.

All in all, I am very impressed with Greenfield's work. Well done.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Necmiye Eren on November 24, 2009
Format: DVD
This documentary focuses more on the ridiculously bureaucratic and rule-driven "treatment" facilities that are available to those suffering from eating disorders than the eating disorders themselves. I think this was a deliberate choice of focus on the part of the director: she shows that what these women are attempting to get from their disorders is control, and yet, in a bitterly ironic twist, the only treatment options that have been devised by allegedly brilliant "experts" are ones which infantilize and control them (i.e. setting up room searches, dining room rules, childish counseling, no tattooing allowed, no smoking, petty talking behind patients' backs on the part of staff, no clique formations etc.) These treatments do NOT work, as is evinced by the lousy success rate--so are they harming the clients more than they are helping them? Is this the best psychology can come up with? I think the questions raised by the film should trouble the sleep of those treating eating disorders. Clearly, they as yet still do not understand the disorder. In the case of the facility featured in "Thin," they are approaching the clients as if starvation/purging were a rational CHOICE rather than a complex disease that affects cognition itself.
A good documentary, but infuriating. Don't expect many answers about anorexia etc. to be answered, however.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Diana Scherff on June 8, 2007
Format: DVD
I definitely agree that this documentary is limited in it's portrayal of the "reality" of eating disorders and treatment. For several reasons, this still isn't the ULTIMATE look into the lives of eating disordered patients, though it's the best to date. Patients do die as a result of eating disorders, 7%-10%, a fact that is not made out as a very serious in this film, any one of the women portrayed were on the brink when they arrived. You lose the fact that most eating disorder patients, patients with symptoms as serious as those of Shelly and even those with less serious symptoms, spend their ENTIRE LIVES fighting. Spending years in many different types of treatment, being treated, inside & outside residential treatment centers, as if they should "just eat" because family members and friends don't understand. As frustrated as those around us can get, understanding the thinking seems to be harder than most any other "mental" illness, because why can't we "just eat?" I think this film does a good job of portraying how nurses and other personnel act towards patients, and how patients, both inside and outside of treatment, feel that they are not only misunderstood, but basically treated as though our illnesses are just a burden, so "get over it" so to speak, when in fact it is MUCH more complicated.

The only other thing left out of this movie is the fact that men can also have eating disorders and that there are treatment centers out there that are for males AND females, though many are just for females. From my viewpoint, the film also shows the importance of small 6-8 patient residential treatment centers since at least three of the four patients left too abruptly and returned to their disordered behavior immediately after leaving treatment.
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Topic From this Discussion
Is this appropriate to show middle school age children for a class?
It simply isn't good enough. See my review and you'll understand.

You would be much better off showing the NOVA special (Dying to be Thin, not rated) which is free in 8 parts here:

For younger middle schoolers who would benefit from a... Read More
Jun 2, 2009 by Express Lizard |  See all 3 posts
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