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Bully (2011)

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A documentary on peer-to-peer bullying in schools across America.

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8 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ja'Meya Jackson ...
Herself
Kelby Johnson ...
Herself
Lona Johnson ...
Herself
Bob Johnson ...
Himself
Alex Libby ...
Jackie Libby ...
Herself
Philip Libby ...
Himself
Maya Libby ...
Herself
Jada Libby ...
Herself
Ethan Libby ...
Himself
Logan Libby ...
Himself
Kim Lockwood ...
Herself
David Long ...
Himself
Tina Long ...
Herself
Teryn Long ...
Herself
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Storyline

This year, over 13 million American kids will be bullied at school, online, on the bus, at home, through their cell phones and on the streets of their towns, making it the most common form of violence young people in this country experience. BULLY is the first feature documentary film to show how we've all been affected by bullying, whether we've been victims, perpetrators or stood silent witness. The world we inhabit as adults begins on the playground. BULLY opens on the first day of school. For the more than 13 million kids who'll be bullied this year in the United States, it's a day filled with more anxiety and foreboding than excitement. As the sun rises and school busses across the country overflow with backpacks, brass instruments and the rambunctious sounds of raging hormones, this is a ride into the unknown. For a lot of kids, the only thing that's certain is that this year, like every other, bullying will be a big part of whatever meets them at their school's front doors. ... Written by Lowen, Cynthia; Hirsch, Lee

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Everything changes when it's your child. See more »

Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense thematic material, disturbing content, and some strong language - all involving kids | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

Release Date:

27 April 2012 (Iceland)  »

Also Known As:

Bully  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,100,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$116,472 (USA) (30 March 2012)

Gross:

$4,038,876 (USA) (9 November 2012)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bully was originally rated R for language. The Weinstein Company appealed for a lower rating, as the R rating would exclude the very audience that is was intended for - high-school teens. They lost the appeal for a PG-13 rating by one vote so the distributor surrendered the original rating and opted for their film to be released 'Unrated' to the theaters. Finally, the filmmakers agreed to cut some, but not all, of the relevant language, and the MPAA did agree to re-rate the movie PG-13. The PG-13 version does keep intact all the language in the scene that was the main point of contention between the filmmakers and the MPAA, in which a 12-year-old is physically and verbally attacked on his school bus by his classmates. See more »

Goofs

The scene where Alex is walking down the street and throwing a stick is inverted. The "Mitsubishi" text on the back of the truck is flipped. See more »

Quotes

Bullied Student: Pretty much a good day for me would be people leaving their hands off of me.
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Connections

References Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Short Tux
Written by Robert Burger (as Rob Burger)
Performed by Robert Burger (as Rob Burger)
Courtesy of Tzadik
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User Reviews

 
One of the most important documentaries in recent times
15 April 2012 | by (Culver City, California) – See all my reviews

The most powerful documentaries are those that speak for themselves. They let their subjects do the talking and lead the film. This is, by far, Bully's greatest strength. This powerful doc. tells the story of several different families who encounter bullying in different ways. We follow a few families dealing with suicides as a result of bullying, one family whose son is dealing with bullying on an everyday basis, and one family whose daughter is in youth behavioral detention from having brought a gun onto a bus. Each story is a different, powerful facet of bullying and the journey is moving and heart breaking. At the center, however, is the main argument that not enough is being done by the adults to prevent bullying.

As stated, the film is told by it's subjects. We witness the bullying that occurs first hand, follow the subjects in their everyday lives, and see first hand the divide between the kids who are bullied and the adults who either do nothing or are unaware of the problem. Other parents deal with the loss of their child through suicide stemmed from bullying and their efforts to change the school systems and law enforcement that ignore the problem. Like any good film, and documentary for that matter, we have our heroic underdogs and our villains. In this case, our heroes are the bullied and our villains are those behind the broken system that allows bullying to continue. One woman in particular displays aptly the real problem and does so with finesse. I will say, by the end of the movie, you'll want to punch her in the face for being such a....well, I can't use that word in this review.

The tragedies in this film are supplemented by a handful of moments that really grab at you. From hearing a man who lost his son use politics as an example to a confrontation in the aforementioned woman's office, the film has a good arc about it. We root for change to happen and for these kids lives to improve, for there to be hope, and there is. Even though the tragedies are rough and even a bit tough to watch at times, we are rewarded with the hope of better days and an improvement. As someone who was a victim of bullying and has known many others to also be victims of bullying, it's refreshing to see that people are standing up all over the world and attempting to do something about it. To say that this film is important is just touching on what it means for this doc to be made.

That isn't to say the film is perfect. Far from it, there's a lot that could have been done. First, the film isn't especially well rounded. We don't get the opposite point of view. Having some of the bullies interviewed would have been a bit interesting I think. It would have also been nice to see some bullies and bullied as adults and what they think. The film also doesn't really look at anything beyond the immediate situation. We don't get any statistical data about bullies or a big variation on the kinds of bullying that occurs. We are simply presented with a few not so unique victims. Perhaps it was simply the filmmakers intention to show us a broken system and those trying to change it, but I would have preferred more variety, however, in the presentation of this problem.

Beyond this, the film is truly great. I can't stress the importance enough of this documentary. With all that goes on in this country these days, it's easy to overlook how important this matter is and how vital it is for the adults involved to put an end to bullying. Especially powerful are the numerous stories of child suicides which reinforce the importance of the issue. I'd even go so far as to say this documentary should be mandated watching for schools. If you have children, find a way for them to see this film. It is one of the most important films of our time.


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