I had the privilege of seeing “Bully” when it was still “The Bully Project” during it’s run at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. It was exactly as shocking and heart wrenching as I expected it to be, and I was excited to hear from Lee Hirsch himself after the screening that the film was being bought for distribution. At the time it wasn’t the Weinstein Company, I’m sure it’s been bought and re-sold since then, but I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to know that Harvey Weinstein has put his name behind this project.
“Bully” follows around a few different families who either have a child dealing with bullying or have a child whose life was a victim of bullying. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it so I don’t remember any names, but there was a father whose son had committed suicide to escape his torture and used his experience to spread awareness and prevent what had happened to his son from happening to someone else’s child. There was a young boy who was physically tortured not only in school, but also on his bus rides to and from school. A camera follows him daily and shows you how the boy is strangled, punched, kicked, sat on, stabbed, etc. I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat wanting to reach into the screen and help him, it was that raw and intense. What is potentially even more frustrating than watching this boy be physically abused daily is watching his parents go to his principal repeatedly asking for help and the woman, as you can see in the trailer, refuses to acknowledge that anything is wrong. Ever.
There is also a young girl who is just being released from a juvenile detention center for bringing a gun to school – not because she wanted to hurt anyone, but because she wanted to scare her tormentors enough that they would leave her alone. Lastly, there is a couple looking for answers from their 11 year old sons school and the local authorities after he commits suicide.
“Bully” is an absolutely must see not only for parents but for children. In fact it is something I would suggest being shown in middle and high schools to help spread awareness and show children what bullying does not only to the victims but also their families. Unfortunately the film has been rated R by the MPAA due to language and violence, and even though the Weinstein Company appealed the rating they lost their appeal by 1 – yes, 1 – vote. The MPAA addressed their decision and the public uproar that followed on their blog this afternoon, which you can read HERE.
Now, thanks to social media and the global efforts to help put an end to bullying, there is a petition on Change.org that will be sent to the MPAA fighting “Bully‘s” R rating. I have already signed it and I implore you, even if you have not seen “Bully” yet, to sign the petition as well. It should be noted that the petition has over 100,000 signatures in under 24 hours. Sign the petition HERE.
I included the trailer for “Bully” below so that you get a peek at the film, and I hope that you all go see it when it hits theaters in the US on March 30th despite it’s rating.