Bully (2011)

This documentary focuses on a few kids who are/were being bullied and the effects the bullying has on them. Documentaries are slow, so deal with that when you watch the movie. When it was originally premiered, it was titled, "The Bully Project."

The different kids profiled are pretty intriguing. The first is a kid who has an unusually structured face that results in him being made fun of and ultimately ostracized when he goes to school. The school officials are painted in the absolute worst light possible, as they struggle and fail to deal with the situation. They are painted as incompetent and uncaring, and it's hard not to agree with that picture, but I get the feeling that there may be another side to the story which is not being told.

The chastisement from the other kids gets so bad at one point that the film crew shows the tapes to the parents so they can take steps to stop the physical bullying that is clearly going on. Why these kids are stupid enough to do stuff like that on film is beyond me. I think it shows that the school system is not just letting the kids being bullied down - it's letting them all down by not training them to be aware of their situation and potential cause/effect relationships.

A second child is a girl who is bullied for being gay. Well, they focus on her being gay quite a bit, and that is certainly the focal point of the bullying, but I'm of the opinion (based on the rest of the movie) that bullying isn't about race, creed, color, sexual orientation, or anything so mundane as prejudice. It's just about being different. That doesn't improve the bullying or make it right, but it means that bullys will bully where and when they can get away with it. Gay kids shouldn't be bullied, and neither should any other kids. For some reason, in her story, the focus was too much on this girl's sexual orientation and not enough of the actual impact of the bullies on her. It didn't do anything to forward the point of the movie.

Then there was another little girl. She claims to have been bullied, but they give very little back story on her and no evidence at all. They don't even talk to any of her classmates. Actually, she never claimed to be bullied (at least on film) - her mother claimed that she was bullied. So, one day she brought her mother's pistol onto the bus and waved it around menacingly. No shots were fired, and it was never made clear if it was loaded or not. An officer told the camera that she could have been charged with many, many felony counts. Eventually, we're told that the girl was released after three months in a psychiatric facility, and all charges were dropped. We learned very little about pretty much anything from her example.

The last child has committed suicide as a result of bullying. We see the aftermath and hear the parent's opinions on what should have been done and how they started a non-profit to bring awareness of bullying. It is certainly a shame that the kid, Trevor, died, and I certainly hope that the outreach program does some good.

All told, it was an okay movie. I wouldn't be giving it any awards, as they simply couldn't focus directly enough on a single end goal, but it was an okay movie for a slow afternoon.

Directing didn't exist.
Editing was good.
Effectiveness was questionable.
Emotional content was high.

2.25/5


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