Bully: The R-Rated Movie Kids Should See
This year, over 5 million American kids will be bullied at school, online, on the bus, at home, and on the streets, making bullying the most common form of violence young people will experience in this country.
The Bully Project is the first feature documentary film that showcases how we’ve all been affected by bullying, whether as victims, perpetrators or passive witnesses. The film director Lee Hirsch himself was bullied throughout his childhood and was inspired to create this film after hearing about two 11-year-old boys, Carl Walker-Hoover and Jaheem Herrera who took their lives as a result of chronic bullying.
Bully transports you right in the heart of schools, where bullies punch and curse while other kids receive this daily verbal and physical abuse. Due to the strong language in the film, MPAA gave the movie an R rating, to which producer Weinstein responds back, “As a father of four, I worry every day about bullying. It’s a serious and ever-present concern for me and my family. I want every child, parent, and educator in America to see Bully, so it is imperative for us to gain a PG-13 rating.”
What surprises me most is how a socially-important documentary is getting blocked from kids who would truly benefit from it. Does our rating system not take into account the intent and overall purpose of the film? As a hopefully effective motivator, I think this film will push the right parties into action against the growing issue of bullying.
Hirsch clearly states the desired effect of the film, “For a 7th grader, it could mean standing up for a peer who is being bullied. As a teacher, it might mean standing in the hall between classes to look out for the more vulnerable kids in the building. Administrators might decide to put their paperwork aside… and take extra time to get to the bottom of a student conflict. And perhaps parents will see a need to spend more time asking their children about their day.”
And so the movie begins, at a child’s most life-altering day, right on the first day of school.