Most adults think that their lives are very hard. They’ve got work, relationships, and money that they constantly worry about. Life isn’t easy. I guess adults forget about their lives as children. Most adults don’t realize it, but children have got it just as hard. They have school, chores, and peer pressure. One problem that most children face is bullying. This is something that’s been around forever. We’ve attacked this in many ways, but how affective is it really? What about the impact bullying has on children. Does it make them stronger or weaker? These issues are explored in the widely controversial documentary, Bully.
I really applaud what director Lee Hirsch wants to accomplish. As a victim of bullying myself, I have heard about this movie for a while. I was part of the crowd that was outraged when the MPPA gave Bully an R rating, just because of some strong language that the kids say. I graduated middle school a while ago, but I still recall lots of language going around. This isn’t something new. You can’t let this movie become forbidden just because of a few lousy words. It just surprises me that something like Bully can get an R rating, but The Hunger Games gets a PG-13. Now that the MPPA responded by rerating Bully, kids can finally see an eye opener in their schoolyard.
Bully follows four different kids as they’re teased and picked on for various reasons. One of them has some social development disability and another was openly gay. The camera follows around their lives at school and at home. The social guy, Alex, has several unsafe rides on the bus and tries to make friends. While going through this, he doesn’t let his parents know about this. I can understand that a lot of kids are afraid to come clean. I understand because they know that most schools aren’t going to do anything.
This film also follows the parents and the school administrators. I can see that these are good parents, but they don’t see themselves that way because of how their children are being treated. They talk about how they’ve gone to the school many times, but nothing changes. I’m surprised that these parents haven’t tried to take legal action. If it was my kid, and the school was telling me that they weren’t going to do anything, I would have pulled them out, and made sure that the principal was no longer in the education career. This movie does a great deal of exploration, but it could have been deeper.
Bully seems to be a film takes one side and stick to it. Never do we get a scene where any bully is interviewed. I would have wanted to understand why most bullies are bullies. It’s in the title after all. I can understand most teenagers saying that they don’t want to see this. But this is meant for everyone. This is meant as something you show to everyone, not something you find. What this movie does is open the door to this world, but it’s not explored enough. That doesn’t make it a bad film, it just cuts out a group of people wanting an insightful documentary.
I'll give this three and a half no bully signs out of five. It's not an award winner, but I can clearly see these people wanted to show something important.