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Twins have long been the subject of all kinds of mystery and fantasy in movies, with sets having special powers and bonds that separate them from the ‘normals’ out there. With Feed, the link is not so much one of great power or evil, but of terrible weight as one becomes an anchor to a dreadful disorder in a film that avoids the archetypes of the genre, crafting a spellbinding and often disturbing story of love, loss, and recovery.
High school twins Olivia (Troian Bellisario) and Matt (Tom Felton) are already close, good looking and popular, he the class president and she soon to be the valedictorian. Matt however has a protective streak in him, always looking to take care of his sister, sometimes too much. One night at a party, she has some drinks and gets flirty, prompting Matt to take her home, and just as she berates him for doing so, they suffer a terrible car accident, one that kills Matt and leaves Olivia racked with guilt. As the months pass, her school performance begins to slip, but more so, she stops eating and begins to ‘see’ Matt in her waking dreams. But is it real or is she falling apart?
Directed by Tommy Bertelsen and written by Bellisario, Feed is a film steeped in metaphor, one that presents itself as one thing but is something else entirely. Making efforts to seem like a ghost story, the message is more than the bond between brother and sister, but something far darker as Olivia’s descent into anorexia begins to take hold. As she caves in on herself, further themes develop and we begin to question, as does Olivia, much about what we are seeing. We grow concerned for Olivia as she withers away, and yet it is often more from the mental break she so clearly seems to be suffering from than the weight loss. We soon realize what Matt really is, an ever-present spectre of the condition that worms its way into her very soul and ruins her in ways that make her compete for control.
Bertelsen and Bellisario’s script deftly toys with the seduction of the disorder, masking the monster behind Olivia’s spiral with sexual innuendo and traumatic dreams never once saying the word anorexia, even as everyone around her suspects as much. Bellisario is hard to watch as she undertakes the physical demands of the role, and is emotionally exhausting to keep up with, convincing us at every turn of Olivia’s ordeal. It’s hard not to compare her and the movie with the recent To The Bone, a film similar in theme but very different in execution. Bellisario deserves high praise for her performance.
Feed explores the tragedy of anorexia with great respect, never exploiting it for the visual horror it can be but rather the highly-personal internal battle it involves, giving voice to the victims who suffer in misunderstanding. It’s a challenging, heartbreaking experience.
Movie description: Feed is a 2017 drama about 18-year-old twins born into a world of privilege and high expectations where even their dreams are connected.
Director(s): Tommy Bertelsen
Actor(s): Troian Bellisario, Tom Felton, Ben Winchell