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Bully (I) (2011)

PG-13  |   |  Documentary  |  27 April 2012 (Iceland)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 8,058 users   Metascore: 74/100
Reviews: 76 user | 171 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

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

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Title: Bully (2011)

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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 ...
Himself
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
Edit

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

Plot Keywords:

school | bully | bullying | bus | victim | See All (221) »

Taglines:

Be a Hero. Take a Stand. 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:

Country:

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)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Anderson Cooper is a strong advocate of this documentary and the movement against bullying that it has stimulated. It was featured on Anderson Cooper 360° (2003) in October 2011, at the "Bullying: It Stops Here" town hall program special. Kelly Ripa, Rosalind Wiseman and Phil McGraw also shared their reactions to and support of the movie. 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: I've never had real friends that would stick around and help me.
See more »


Soundtracks

Torn By Wolves
Written by Ben Chasny
Performed by Six Organs Of Admittance
Courtesy of Drag city
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User Reviews

 
Already the most important Documentary of the year.

Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland

Ever since the Weinstein Company has been petitioning the MPAA to assign "Bully" a "PG-13" rating instead of the dreaded "R", there has been controversy surrounding its distribution. There have since been reports that the Weinstein Company plans to release this documentary as "Unrated" to get around the MPAA stranglehold, which may doom it to the dreaded "limited release" realm of no return and rarely seen. So what is the deal? Why was (until quite recently) "Bully" pulling an "R" rating? Does "Bully" advocate bullying? No. Does it use language that your twelve year son/daughter/sister/brother doesn't hear at school every day of his/her life? And (the one that terrifies the MPAA the most) is there any nudity? NOOOOOO. The biggest controversy of this film, and the main idiotic reason that this film pulled an "R" rating for the longest time, is the fact that audiences will actually see middle school and high school kids visibly getting shoved around, punched, and called awful names. And while the images here will be disturbing to parents and teens alike, they need to be seen by a demographic that is actually living through the controversial themes the movie brings up. The awful truth is that 13 million children are bullied every day. So, for the MPAA to have slapped it with an "R" rating is simply irresponsible. "Bully" is a cut and dry example of subject matter superseding the MPAA's fundamentally rigid beliefs of counting the number of F-bombs in a movie.

Now, here is my review of "Bully":

Like a real time therapy session for anybody who has ever been bullied in school, "The Bully Project" or "Bully" as it has been retitled, may not only be responsible for stirring up more pre-release controversy than any documentary in recent history, but also be one of the timeliest documentaries ever released. What director Lee Hirsch tries to do here, is give audiences and inside look at bullying in today's public schools by actually documenting a few victimized teens (ranging in ages from 12 to 16) as they are in the midst of day to day social bullying. The film begins with the story of a boy named Tyler, who killed himself as a direct result of being constantly ridiculed and physically abused from his peers at school. Hirsch films Tyler's parents as they discuss the dire epidemic that is school bullying today, and then we get to see bullying through the eyes of a child in a heartbreaking reality, as Hirsh introduces audiences to Alex, age 12. Alex is an undersized boy who is subjected to constant ridicule and scorn from his peers. And I'm not just talking about older kids at school calling him names. Hirsch follows Alex as he is seen getting his lunch stolen, physically hit in the back of the head, shoved to the ground and in one case stabbed with a pencil on the bus (as the bus driver does nothing). The tragic mental and physical abuse this child goes through will reduce many audience members to tears instantaneously. For others, the emotional damage this young man goes through on screen will be nothing less than anger inducing. If you had forgotten how bad it was being a teenager when you went to school, Alex will serve as a not so subtle reminder of how brutal some kids have it. And what's worse is Hirsch's depiction of how out of touch the adults are with their children, in conjunction with how seemingly unflinching school administrators act when confronted about bullying in their own schools.

Final Thought: Unfortunately at times the subject matter of "Bully" is better than the film itself, even though Hirsch does daring work. What I mean by that is, that for how hard hitting his subject matter was, the filmmaking (or how the film was put together) could have been better if it would have included every aspect of bullying. In many ways this film only scratches the surface. In saying that, the film does more than serve its purpose. This isn't just a movie about the struggles of fitting in. This is an uncensored look into a bullying epidemic that up until a few years ago had been mostly swept under the rug of American society. So, even though it is doubtful that "Bully" will be the most well made documentary I see all year, it will most definitely be the most important; and one not only every child should see, but entire families should see together.

Please visit my page on Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/x-52464-San-Jose-Indie-Movie-Examiner and leave any comments you have about this or any review.

Follow me on Twitter @moviesmarkus


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