You would expect the usual murders, affairs, deceit, and petty grudges to wreak havoc in a Lifetime movie, but that’s not the case with Dying in Plain Sight. This one is still a Lifetime movie, alright, but it deals with something as severe as atypical anorexia. Centered on a plus-size teen, this film also gets vocal about relevant topics like bad parenting and body shaming. And the end result is quite good, I would say.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Movie?
Morgan’s life has always been difficult, thanks to her extra weight and overbearing mom. She’s a promising student with a keen interest in poetry, but a severe lack of friends other than her bestie, Emmy, has ensured her school life is no fun. Add to that the fact that she even gets fat shamed by random bullies in the dance videos Emmy posts on social media. There are some positives in Morgan’s life, though, like English teacher Mrs. Norris, who keeps encouraging her to pursue her poetry, as well as Emmy’s constant support and her always standing up against the people who bully Morgan.
Why Does Morgan Start Cutting Down On Her Food?
Dying in Plain Sight might just feel a bit confusing in terms of its storytelling. While it initially seems like Morgan’s reason for cutting down on food originates from her developing a crush on Gage, a slacker from her class whom she tutors, by the end, the movie confirms that it started as early as when Morgan was ten. The movie doesn’t shy away from putting the blame on the parents, especially her mother Kim, which is completely justified. The father, Nick, is no saint either, as very early on in the movie, he’s caught cheating on Kim with a comparatively attractive and “fitter” woman. Not only does it establish the fact that the marriage is clearly not doing well, but it also pushes Kim down the dark path of “clean eating” and taking her daughter along for the ride.
I should clarify that neither the movie nor I are against healthy eating habits, but what Kim does in Dying in Plain Sight is clearly something extreme that affects her daughter severely. Morgan’s urge to cut down on her food, even the healthy stuff, obviously intensifies with her desire to make herself more presentable to Gage. Kim’s obsession with getting fitter in order to show Nick what he’s missing out on adds fuel to the whole thing.
How Does Cutting Back On Food Affect Morgan?
It’s no surprise that taking extreme measures would initially start working out for Morgan. She becomes more confident, and Gage takes an interest in her; even his friends, who used to bully Morgan, start hanging out with her. While Morgan is overjoyed to be a part of the “cool” crowd, Emmy gets heartbroken after getting ignored by Morgan.
However, Morgan’s good times are only short-lived, as things soon start going downhill for her. She suffers massive hair loss, starts feeling unusually tired, and the quality of her poetry deteriorates drastically, which effectively hampers her chances of getting published in a prestigious literary journal. Her already awkward relationship with her parents turns further worse, and she has a huge fight with Emmy as well, who’s clearly not happy about her hanging out with Gage and company. Last but not least, Gage turned out to be that typical teen drama character who would use sweetness as a weapon in order to easily get into your pants.
Does Morgan Survive?
During Dying in Plain Sight‘s ending, it becomes evident that Morgan’s going to suffer something absolutely terrible. Developing atypical anorexia is the worst thing that could possibly happen to her, especially with her mom and usual doctor not seeing it coming. This only justifies the name of the movie, which is true in a literal sense.
A severe meltdown at school, followed by another at home, ensures that everyone, from Emmy to her parents, finally realizes the trouble Morgan is going through. When Morgan finally collapses, Nick and Kim take her to the hospital, where they find out all about it. Thanks to what they’ve done to their daughter, these two finally decide to bury the hatchet and start working on their marriage again. I never expected Morgan to die in the end, given that Dying in Plain Sight is a Lifetime movie and these movies must end on a happy note, other than exceptions like Bad Romance (2023). Morgan surviving also makes sense here, because the poor girl has already suffered enough, and her dying would have made things unnecessarily grim. And the journey to leading a happy and healthy life doesn’t come easy for her either, as she had to go for six months of rehab in order to achieve that. But at the end of it, the Morgan we see is positive, determined, and very excited about living the rest of her life. Not to mention, her best friend comes around, and Kim apologizes to her for being a bad mother. Even Gage seems to realize what he did with Morgan wasn’t okay.
I thought it was pretty bold of Lifetime, a network that is famous for churning out mainly guilty pleasure movies, to make a movie on atypical anorexia. And what particularly deserves round of applause is the director’s ability to keep the usual Lifetime-ness of the movie intact by keeping it engaging from the get-go and, most importantly, never boring. Young actress Raffa Virago also deserves a lot of credit for her performance in the lead role. While many in this world suffer from the vicious eating disorder that is scientifically known as anorexia, its atypical form is actually a rare thing that only happens to people who’re severely overweight. They don’t become skinny even after cutting off all the food, and their physical and mental health go down the drain as well. I hope Dying in Plain Sight makes people aware of the disease and teaches them about what not to do if someone has it. There lies the success of it.