‘Bully’ showcases unacknowledged disrespect
Following the lives of five young students across the Unites States, “Bully” takes a look into the harsh reality of the bullying that affects some children on a daily basis. Each story had me captivated, left me more heartbroken than the last, and outraged that nothing was being done. The movie touches on all of the different ways of being bullied, such as physical bullying, emotional bullying, and cyberbullying.
The students in the documentary are ridiculed for several different reasons, but the main action of the movie is centered around Alex, a thirteen year old boy who lives in Iowa. Footage is shown of Alex on the school bus getting stabbed by pencils, getting strangled, punched, thrown around and having his head banged into the seat. Kids are constantly calling him “Fish Face,” and other hurtful names. When his parents go to the school to talk to an administrator, the administrator simply says that she’s been on that bus route, and that the students were “as good as gold,” which shows how the administration doesn’t do much of anything at all to protect their students.
This movie also portrays the bullying of Ja’Meya, an honor roll student who enjoys playing sports. She gets called “stupid” and “idiot” every day the whole bus ride to school. She finally reaches her breaking point and makes a big mistake that ends up sending her to a juvenile detention center. Showing a victim being punished makes the audience members see a different side of the movie, making them feel a sense of injustice, distress, and leaving them appalled.
The producers were not holding back when making this film, showing powerful footage of the students getting choked, punched, shoved into lockers, and beaten until they bled. There was huge controversy over the rating of “Bully.” The film was originally rated R for the language and brutality in the bullying scenes, but many people, including celebrities Ellen Degeneres, Demi Lovato, and Khloe Kardashian, rallied for it to be rated PG-13, because they saw the need for kids to be exposed to it. The movie is now “unrated.”
Unfortunately for some kids, help comes too late. In the movie, two children, one seventeen year old, and one eleven year old were pushed over the edge, causing them to end their own lives. Their parents take action, starting a campaign called “Stand for the Silent,” promoting people to take a stand to bullies for those who never got a chance to.
The message of “Bully” is clear. No one deserves to be treated with disrespect. If you are a person that sees bullying, and sees a need for change, this movie will give you the motivation to stand up and take action. If you are someone who doesn’t notice it, this movie will open your eyes to a dark reality that permeates the lives of nearly all children and teens.The movie will have you in tears, inspired to take a stand, and cause motion to stop bullying wherever it can be stopped.
The film has been heralded as doing a great job of showing what happens to these kids, but on the flipside it has been criticized for just pointing pictures and not providing any solutions. It is difficult to provide any solutions in such a short film, but it is definately worth mentioning.