Ok, ok, I know this is suppose to be a BOOK REVIEW blog but I am still working my way through 50 Shades of Grey and I am not ready to
Bully follows several different kids who have all been affected by bullying. Some are still battling bullying in their daily lives and others have killed themselves due to the effects bullying had on them. The themes of this film are powerful - we have all been affected by bullying on some capacity. Either we were bullies or we were bullied. Most likely we have played both roles at some point in our lives.
I found the film hard to watch. We hear the principal of one of the schools create excuse after excuse for her students. She suggests that one of the victims "try to be friends" with his bully. If only it were that easy. It appears as though she is apathetic to the bullying situation and is more concerned with the daily operations of her school. I have worked in the public school system and unfortunately these types of individuals are common. As a teacher, it is hard to take up the issue of bullying without administrative support.
One of the things that struck me the most about this film was the kids who decided (or their parents decided) to allow them to be apart of this film. We see a handful of relentlessly mean kids. These kids are both physically and emotionally abusive to their peers. While I do not condone bullying of ANY kind nor do I seek to justify these kids actions it is important to remember that they are kids. It is easy for me to say in my mid twenties that bullying is wrong. I can see the effects it has from a distance but as a child, who has had far less worldly experiences, it is more difficult to look at the situation with perspective. This film has branded them "bullies" and one day they will be adults who will, hopefully, better understand the consequences of bullying. However, they now have a recorded time capsule that illustrates their malicious behaviour. I just wonder about the consequences of this...
I do think this is a powerful film and one that should be shown to everyone. The recent string of adolescent suicides has certainly brought bullying into a more mainstream light but this film helps to flesh the issue out. It is not a perfect documentary by any means. I question the ethics of the filmmakers and the authenticity of some of the scenes but Bully isn't trying to be a "GOOD FILM", it's trying to start discussion about a really hard topic and I think it did that well.