Guest / Limited Access /
Bully
Our Rating
3 Stars - Good
Average Rating
 
(6 user ratings)ADD YOURSHelp
Mpaa Rating
PG-13 (for some language)
Directed By
Larry Clark
Run Time
1 hour 48 minutes
Cast
Brad Renfro, Bijou Phillips, Rachel Miner, Nick Stahl
Theatre Release
December 12, 2001 by The Weinstein Company

There is something terribly jarring about seeing home movies of babies juxtaposed with footage of the same child much later, after years of bullying. Back then, they appear so joyful, smiley and unrestrained. Now: Quiet, sullen, beaten-down.

It's devastating.

"I'm starting to think I don't feel anything anymore," says 12-year-old Alex, one of those previously carefree infants who now has no friends because he's "creepy," "annoying," "not normal," and a "fishface." He's not alone. Over 13 million American kids will be bullied this year. Twenty years ago, I was one of them. In my volunteer youth ministry, I've worked with several more. This problem is real, the effects are terrible. So I am thankful for Bully, a new documentary from Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch.

Bully's greatest accomplishment is its straightforward and poignant depiction of the victims' reality. The threats. The isolation. The name-calling. The pain. With Bully, the national crisis is given a face. Several faces, actually. Filmed over the course of the 2009-10 school year, Hirsch features Alex but intersperses his story with those of four other bullied students, giving us various facets of the bullying spectrum. Two families mourn the suicides of their bullied sons, Tyler and Ty. Ja'Meya was arrested for taking a gun to school to scare the bullies. Kelby is a lesbian tempted to move to escape anti-homosexual abuse.

It's amazing the access Hirsch was given, capturing everything from blatant bullying to the little side moments—like one scene where a boy named Cody is asked what it feels like when he's called a faggot. "It breaks my heart," he squeaks.

Heart-ripping, emotive moments are frequent. Alex is pushed and slapped on the bus. ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
Browse All Movie Reviews By:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueHow the Prophet Habakkuk Built an Anti-Fragile Faith
Subscriber Access Only
How the Prophet Habakkuk Built an Anti-Fragile Faith
Lessons on worshiping a consistently unpredictable God.
Current IssueNew & Noteworthy Books
Subscriber Access Only
New & Noteworthy Books
Compiled by Matt Reynolds
Recommended'Moonlight' Is a Flawed, But Rewarding Exercise in Christian Empathy
'Moonlight' Is a Flawed, But Rewarding Exercise in Christian Empathy
The Oscar favorite's portrayal of black, gay experience is at odds with a biblical sexual ethic—but for some, it might be worth the discomfort.
TrendingAll 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
All 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
More than 3,000 employees in 36 states will be laid off in the liquidation of one of the world’s largest Christian retailers.
Editor's PickA Tale of Two Calvary Chapels: Behind the Movement’s Split
A Tale of Two Calvary Chapels: Behind the Movement’s Split
Chuck Smith’s successor says he is expanding founder’s vision. Other leaders say he’s diluting it.
Christianity Today
Bully
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

April 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.