|Bully: The Movie|
|posted by: Alix | April 09, 2012, 10:33 PM|
After weeks of protest and high-profile celebrity support, the Weinstein Company announced last Thursday that an edited version of the highly anticipated film "Bully" will be released across the U.S. with a student-friendly PG-13 rating later this month. The movie comes on the heels of an emerging American movement seeking to thrust bullying awareness and prevention into the spotlight after a rash of teen suicides and media coverage. Proponents of the film argue the movie can be used as a tool for students and schools interested in discussing the issue in their communities.
Featuring the stories of five students, "Bully" is a heartbreaking documentary about the sometimes life-ending consequences of extreme peer bullying. Filmmaker Lee Hirsch followed students with a small camera, riding to and from school on the bus, roaming the halls, and talking to school officials. The footage is shocking and exposes harsh language, extreme violence, cruelty, and often unprepared school officials.
At one point in the eye-opening film, a 12-year-old boy from Sioux City, Iowa, named Alex Libby, chats with his father about his day on the school bus. "This high-schooler was strangling me, but I think he was just messing around," he says chillingly. It's just another day, but the words are a telling window into the tortured and violent experiences of students like him.
The film claims 13 million American schoolchildren are victimized every year, a statistic covering schools both large and small alike. In the age of social media, students are often faced with the cruel treatment long after they exit the school bus. Although the film features students mostly in middle-America, surveys show that the entire country is experiencing the issue on some level. Clearly students like Alex Libby are not alone.
While the film doesn't offer any insight into the complex problem or feature any groundbreaking research, it puts a face to victims everywhere. "Bully" also promotes the organization, Stand for the Silent, which tours schools and asks students to take a stand against bullying.
National Public Radio calls the film a "wrenching, intensely moral film, and so potentially useful to children who are being bullied." Celebrity supporters including Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees have also rallied behind the film, calling on American high schools to show the documentary to their students.
Despite the timely topic, the film features sensitive subject matter. Before you encourage students to see the movie, be sure to discuss the issue with your administrators. While the film has been edited for language, violence and adult themes are prevalent throughout the documentary.
Click here to watch the trailer.
What do you think about the bullying issue? Do you think movies like these will help students and educators?