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BULLY, Review by John Delia






Review by John Delia

I am disappointed with the film Bully, not for the content but the lack of it.  Centering on just a few examples, the documentary restricts opinions to those filmed and not the millions who have been affected by the awful demeaning acts of aggression.  It’s a critical subject that feeds on the young making their futures bleak and uncertain.  The absence of a ‘cure’ and only limited suggestions on how children can release themselves from the evils of bulling make this film weak, restrictive and quite powerless.  The only benefit that comes from this film is awareness, but I guess it’s a start.

The film centers on the subject of bullying and shows how five families have had to deal with it, including suicide by two youngsters.  As each of the stories are presented, the awareness level increases. Negatives start to surface involving the lack of knowledge about the problem and lack of help by school authorities and police.  Often passed off as ‘a part of growing up,’ those that should be taking action against the scourge are avoiding it due to their workload and the enormity of the crisis.

The School Bus a stomping grouds for bullies

Although I do not consider this article a forum to offer criticism based on the actual events that take place in the film, my observations here are based on the content presented by the filmmaker. The film lacks urgency and content that would expand authority to those who can intervene.  The film should have included ‘action taken’ that has proven to be helpful in curbing bullying generating more followers to help the fight.

On the Bully website the following statement can be found. “Over 13 million American kids will be bullied this year, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the nation. The new documentary film BULLY, directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, brings human scale to this startling statistic, offering an intimate, unflinching look at how bullying has touched five kids and their families.” http://www.thebullyproject.com/indexflash.html#/story

It’s time for a cure; we already know the effects of the terrorizing. In my opinion, a good short film/PSA  showing students bullying, how to handle the problem and to whom to report it, would be a good start.

Bully has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for PG-13 for intense thematic material, disturbing content, and some strong language — all involving kids.  Content was deleted from the original unrated release to satisfy the MPAA and allow more teens to view the film.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Bully is worth a look, but unless you join the fight, bullying won’t end here.(C)  

Additional Film Information:

  • Directed by: Lee Hirsch
  • MPAA Rating: for intense thematic material, disturbing content, and some strong language — all involving kids
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Running Time: 1 hr 49 min
  • Opening Date: April 13, 2012
  • Distributed by: The Weinstein Company


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