Iffy for 13+
Powerful docu addresses critically important issue for kids.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bully is a no-holds-barred documentary that intimately portrays bullying victims' daily lives. While it's often heartbreaking and deals with tough issues like suicide, the movie addresses an incredibly important, timely topic -- bullying -- in a frank, relatable way that's age appropriate for teens and relevant for middle schoolers if an adult is present to guide discussion. Bully's strong language (including a brutal, profanity-laden scene in which one boy says to another that he'll "shove a broomstick up your a--" and "cut your face off and s--t") earned it an R rating from the MPAA (a rating that the production company chose not to accept, officially releasing the film as unrated), but none of the swearing is gratuitous. Like it or not, it's a realistic portrayal of what every middle schooler and older hears every day. This gives the film veracity and credibility with kids, and it will justifiably shock parents.Bully's most challenging material isn't just the language, but the suicides. Seeing grieving parents and friends could potentially be upsetting to teens and preteens, so they should definitely watch with adults. Bully also addresses the concepts of cutting, physical abuse, and more, but in a way that presents the consequences as well as the behavior itself. Victims' parents are generally portrayed as supportive and loving, while school administrators come off in a much less positive light. Ultimately, Bully encourages kids to stand up to bullies, not stand by, and reinforces the fact that everyone can make a difference when it comes to this essential issue.
- Families can talk about an individual's responsibility to stand up, not stand by. Is that easy to do? How do you think people can really make a difference against bullies?
- Parents, talk to your kids about teen suicide. This is an incredibly tough topic, but one that needs to be addressed. What makes some people think that it's their only option? What impact does their decision have on their friends and family? Where can kids in despair turn for assistance?
- Bullying is often seen as physical abuse, but Bully shows that words are just as powerful. Talk about the different ways that people can bully others; what has the most lasting impact?
- Bully doesn't spend too much time discussing the online/digital side of the issue. Teens: How does cyberbullying impact you and your peers?
- School administrators come off very poorly in Bully, and there's lots of blaming the victim. Do you think administrators leave victims feeling completely discounted? Who else can bullying victims turn to for help?
The good stuff
Messages: Bully's powerful, important message is that everyone can -- and should -- make a difference when it comes to the issue of bullying. Kids are encouraged to "stand up, not stand by" when they see bullying taking place and are told that "everything starts with one." The movie addresses teen suicide, mourning, and conflict in ways that are likely to upset both teens and parents, but everything serves to reinforce the message that bullying needs to be stopped.
Role models: Bullying victims are portrayed sympathetically, including one who brandished a gun at the kids who were mistreating her and consequently faced criminal charges. Some of the kids exhibit great strength in the face of adversity -- especially Kelby, a gay teen who wants to stand up and make a change for herself and others. Parents are generally supportive and determined to help their kids and/or others in similar situations. School administrators, on the other hand, come across as unhelpful, inflexible, and oblivious, and the lives/motivations of the bullies themselves aren't investigated or addressed.
What to watch for
Violence: The movie makes clear that the most severe bullying violence isn't always physical, but also verbal and emotional. Teen/tween suicide is one of the movie's central topics, with friends and family members emotionally mourning the loss of their loved ones. Many kids recount repeated incidents of physical abuse (being choked, sat on, stabbed with pencils, etc.) and threats (one brutal scene captured by filmmakers includes a boy saying, graphically, that he'll shove a broomstick up another boy's rear and cut him with a knife). Another teen discusses previous suicide attempts and a past history of cutting. Hitting/punching/scuffling, both between friends and between bullies and their victims. Security camera footage shows a girl brandishing a gun at other kids when she feels she's been pushed too far. Other images of guns, some within a hunting context.
Sex: Not an issue
Language: The most brutal language appears in a threatening scene on a school bus, in which an older student tells a younger one that he'll "f---ing end you and shove a broomstick up your a-- ... I'll cut your face off and s--t." Also several other uses of "f--k" (and its derivatives), especially in the early part of the movie, as well as "s--t," "ass," "p---y," "bitch," and many derogatory terms for homosexuals ("f-g," etc.).
Consumerism: Various labels/brands are seen, but since this is a documentary, none are product placement.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue
Fan Reviews provided by
The Documentary to See by Jenerally
Take your kids to see this movie. Then encourage others to see it. Everyone has seen bullying at some point in their lives. I was bullied through out elementary and middle school. What really shocks me about this movie, is how the schools don't have a plan for bullying.
As for is it appropriate for kids to see, I think a child said it best. In a news interview they showed a preview to kids and asked it they wanted to see it. They all said yes. When they asked if they thought it was too violent and if the language was too strong on child answered, No, we see all of this and more at school.
Powerful Film by Sydia311
This film needs to be nominated for an Oscar if it's possible. It was such a powerful movie, it made me reflect on when I was bullied so many years ago and how even now I could relate to how bulling made Alex and all the others feel. People don't understand how it damages a persons self esteem and in some aspects, a part of the person can't forget it or move on passed it, no matter how rich or successful you become in life. I saw an interview with Alex today, and the way he described his life now, with so much joy made me want to see the film. It's 2012, by now, if you don't like a persons look, etc. go somewhere else. Leave them be. This movie is a definite must see. Not recommended for children under 6/7 years of age, they won't be able to sit still and miss the importance of the film. I recommend, 9 years of age and up.
Very Poweful Movie by piercka1
I took my 12 1/2 year old daughter who is in 6th grade to see this over the weekend. I thought is was a very powerful movie that should be seen by all middle and high school students. It gets right to the details of what Bulling does to people. Well done....
Bully by i_heart_kindness
MPAA just changed the rating of this movie to PG-13!!! What a HUGE victory for all involved and all of us! I want to see it come to all the big theaters in Syracuse NY. I signed Katy's petition to get the rating changed, and have been eagerly awaiting the release of this movie. I think everyone should go watch this movie whether you have young kids, older kids or even no kids at all. Bullying is a nation-wide epidemic and the more people that take a stand against bullying of all kinds, the more the world will change for the better!!!
The Bully Movie - An Important Beginning by rnovick1
For my full thoughts on this incredible, highly moving film, visit my blog called lifestoolbox on wordpress
I found the film to very touchingly portray the loss and pain, but too easily pin blame on schools and agencies. All of us need to be better, more active and engaged bystanders - fighting for the rights and value of all human beings.
This film is a must see, but it is also just a beginning. If people leave the film both moved and committed to talking with their children or students, vowing to make a difference - then it will have done a great service,
This is not an easy movie to watch - but it is something we must open our eyes to if we are to save children from the epidemic that is running wild in our communities.
BULLY by mshelf3
The movie did a good job at really demonstrating the way the children often interact with each other. However, I feel like there were no real solutions given. The idea was "it is all the school's fault". Schools are not meant to raise your children. They are meant to educate your children. Parents absolutely MUST work with the schools to prevent these situations. Parents must help their children understand the impact of their behavior. Society must start to change how it looks at this as well. Yes- bullying is nothing new..... but there is so much more intensity in how it occurs now. Children see examples in the media, on television and worse from the political leaders who call each other names and disrespect each other. We can't expect them to be what we as adults are not teaching them to be.
Bully by kellyzat
A good film. Emotional and raw in some places. The schools featured clearly have no real plan for holding bullies accountable or engaging the parents of the bullies or the bullied. The stories were heartbreaking.
The pacing of the film was a bit slow and dragged in parts. If you're looking for answers though you may be disappointed as this movie shows only the problem with some steps to make sure the victims aren't forgotten.
Bully by Mellomouth
Bully. Take your kids now. I know. Only if you live in LA or NYC. Here's why they wouldn't give it a rating - they say the "f" word in the movie. So, middle school kids say the eff word. Especially, when they are bullying someone. So, get over the word and take your 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 year old kids. Take the ones who bullied. Take the ones who have been bullied. Take the ones who have been neither the bully or been bullied but have the chance to stop the bullying. Talk to your theaters. Make them bring the movie to your town. No more suicides. And, when you go to the movie, make sure you bring enough tissues.
Bully by LizzyArroyo
Bully was a movie that showed us what it is to be brave when no one is your friend. Its about time a documentary like this one airs so the world could see what our children have to endure and give us hope that now someone will listen. I cried throughout the movie, was angry at times and wish I knew the victims and their parents so that I could hug them and tell them that I would be their friend and that I will stand up to them. I hope others will see the movie and spread the word. Its time for a change and its time to stand together againsty bullying and society.
Saw it twice already and it just opened today..... by Blueiguana4
An amazing film, many different emotions ran though me while watching. Tears did run down my face often, Anger, compassion, and that human nature of wanting to protect each of those kids. The film wasn't so rough that kids shouldn't see it. The film is the reality of Bullying. It was well made and very moving. Not too much and not too little. Gave us a glimps of the life of a victims of Bullying and Yes,,,,, The Movement Has Begun !!!!