“Bully” (A Nickell-odeon Review)

May 3, 2012

At school-bus stops, in busses carrying students to and from schools, and in schoolyards and schools themselves, as well as online, bullying takes place at an alarming rate—an estimated over 13 million American kids suffering this "most common form of violence young people in this country experience" (online at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt168218/plotsummary).

Now a documentary showing how everyone is affected by bullying—as either bully, victim, or bystander—is the first to become a feature movie, in part thanks to a grant from Sundance.

Bully gets close up and personal in the lives of several kids and their families who suffer from bullying today. Included are the families of two boys driven to suicide—one found hanged in his bedroom closet. The families are on a crusade to prevent other children and families from suffering a like fate. They challenge school officials and hold rallies, seeking to raise the public's consciousness.

Again and again, the victims are targeted because they are perceived as "different," and they are called names like "fag" and "geek"; one twelve-year-old's features earn him the cruel name "fish face." As one might expect, such abuse tells us more about the bullies than about the bullied. It is the aggressors who deserve critical appellations: not only "bully" but "bigot" and "fool" and even worse.

Written by Lee Hirsch and Cynthia Lowen, Bully uses cinema-vérité—often seemingly inartfully, but to good effect. One comes away with a nagging feeling that one should do something—a measure of the film's effectiveness.

Rating: Three wooden nickels (out of four)

Three Nickels

Comments:

#1 Darcy Cowan (Guest) on Thursday May 03, 2012 at 1:28pm

It looks like the plot summary link is missing a digit for the title designation, actual link is:

#2 Darcy Cowan (Guest) on Thursday May 03, 2012 at 1:29pm

oh, no links. ok then add a 1 to the end of tt168218
to give tt1682181.

#3 L.Long (Guest) on Friday May 04, 2012 at 10:54am

The biggest problem with bullying is fear of adult reprisal. A person cannot defend himself without being accused of what they are trying to stop.  When in school (with nuns!) I reported a bully and nothing was done.  After I beat the schite out of him they tried to have me accused of bullying.  At which point I told the nuns where they could put their accusations.  When my father arrived to take me home the nuns had the embarrassment of having him take my side and I was then transferred to public school.
Most of my bullying problems though was not violence but insulting name calling.  Which once I realized it was really silly it no longer had power over me.
Also I have seen others be verbally bullied and could not understand why they are so affected.  Just smile and walk away. One of my favorites was to smile and say ‘At least Jesus loves you’ and walk away.
Maybe I’m heartless, but anyone who hangs himself for verbal abused has more problems than bullying.

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