The Weinstein Company’s documentary, Bully, is one of the most powerful documentaries that have been released in recent years. This is a documentary that will always be relevant. It’s something that every single parent and every single child in this country and around the world should see. Period. It is a completely unbiased look at the reality of bully that plagues not just one community or county, but the entire country. It shows children’s’ lives who have been ravaged because of bullying and the complacency both of adults and their fellow students alike. They are young people who have been pushed to the brink and beyond as a result of these factors. It is that unbiased point of view that makes this feature so powerful.
One critic wrote of the movie that it has a failing in that it only shows the “bad” schools and not the “good” ones. The problem is that the “bad” schools outnumber the good schools by such a massive number that more people can relate to the “bad” schools than those that would be “good.” The stories from those “bad” schools are shocking and at times painful and angering. They show that it’s not just the parents who are guilty of allowing bullying to happen in our nation’s schools. The peers of those students are just as liable for what happens to victims of bullying. And it is up to both those same adults and youth alike to band together in order to bring an end to bullying. Otherwise, nothing will change. As the program notes in a single line at its end, “Everything starts with one.” One person standing up will lead to another and another until thousands stand up and say no more.
One of the most intriguing factors highlighted here is that of bullying victims being punished for standing up to their bullies. This is something to which so many parents and kids alike can relate today. Kids seem almost expected in schools to take bullying while administrators would rather simply turn a blind eye and blame the victim, rather than take that stand. That is especially exemplified when young Alex’s mother confronts the assistant principal at his school about her son being bullied. The assistant principal in question claimed that the kids on his bus were so good. Of course they were. They had an administrator in front of them. When the cat’s away, the mice come out to play. And the way that she seemed to simply want to shoo his parents away was absolutely sickening. It’s just one of so many moments that are equally powerful throughout the course of the documentary’s almost two hour run time. There are so many moments other than just this that will leave audiences in shock and will hopefully make them want to be part of that movement to end bullying. With any luck, those same parents and kids will spread the word to others who haven’t seen this documentary, and that fire inside will burn brighter with each viewer to make a difference. And perhaps maybe, just maybe, one day when enough people have taken a stand, the world will finally no longer need documentaries such as Bully. Bully is available now in stores and online.
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