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13th April
2012
written by Adam

From Director Lee Hirsch comes the controversial documentary that follows the lives of five families in the South and Midwest affected by bullying behavior for a year. Spanning the gamut the film examines the lives of families that have already lost children to bullying, those currently in the thick of things being bullied for various reasons, to those who’ve done something about being bullied—which in one case extends to an unlikely student bringing a loaded gun to school. With the intention of opening eyes and educating the public about the devastating impact bullying behaviour can have, Hirsch exposes the ignorance of a select group of school administrators and various law enforcement officers who would apparently choose to turn a blind eye rather than actually address the roots of the problem. Next comes the resolution and call to action for community involvement that looks to educate adults and youth alike. Carefully constructed to raise the viewer’s ire at the obvious injustice in a number of scenes, the documentary is spot on in delivering a potent whiff of smelling salts to anyone who doesn’t believe bullying is a serious problem. By all means an important film for all pre-teens, teens, and their parents to watch, my only major disappointment with the film comes from the final step—what can be done about the behaviour? All too often documentaries end with the almost textbook “What can be done? It all starts with you” copout answer, and sadly Bully is no different. For those looking for answers, there doesn’t really appear to be a clear guide here. I suppose the argument that the film’s intention is to “start the conversation or dialogue” could be made; personally, I just wish there might have been a bit more instruction or a citing of resources for those in need of help. Now with an appropriate PG-13 rating Bully is worth seeing, maybe a family matinee or rental.

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