Bully Movie Review

Bully Movie Review – Alex Libby is featured in the documentary, “Bully,” in this film image released by The Weinstein Company.

“Bully,” 2 1/2 stars Rated: PG-13 for some violence and disturbing situations involving children and teenagers and some language Running time: 94 minutes: Playing at Amherst Cinemas. Special appearances by “Bully” writer-producer Cynthia Lowen Sunday, 2:45 and 7:15 p.m.

Bully Movie Review

The documentary “Bully” is essential viewing, whether you’re a parent or a child, if you’ve been on the giving or receiving end of such increasingly widespread cruelty.

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But it’s also frustrating to watch, as the stories involved here are undoubtedly moving in nature, not exactly told in the most artful way, rendering “Dhakka” far less emotionally compelling than it should have been.

Director Lee Hirsch’s film feels repetitive and seems longer than its relatively short running time. Overall, it bounces without rhyme or reason between the handful of students across the country who suffer from bullying; Technically, it feels a bit messy, with unnecessary zooms and images that fade in and out of focus. Perhaps this was a deliberate aesthetic choice. Either way, it’s distracting and headache-inducing.

Hirsch spent a year with about half a dozen families with children who had been bullied at school — teased, abused, humiliated and teased — behavior that even adults often brush aside with the cliché that kids will be kids.

They include Murray County, Ga. including David and Tina Long, whose 17-year-old son Tyler committed suicide. Tina bravely points to the closet where the family found her, her bedroom since turned into an office, and the death that has turned the Longs’ quiet suburban life into a crusade for awareness.

The Ant Bully Posters

Other storylines in the film feature 12-year-old Alex, a scruffy kid from Sioux City, Iowa. His parents believe that he is a bit strange but as his mother points out, he will be the most devoted friend to anyone who will accept him. Hirsch’s camera captures Alex’s daily school bus ride so big, it means the kids use him as their punching bag. Alex doesn’t know how to stand up for himself and no adults seem able to do it for him (his middle school assistant principal comes across as particularly clueless and incompetent).

In conservative Tuttle, Okla., 16-year-old Kelby has been shunned since she came out as a lesbian, as have her parents. He finds a small circle of friends who accept him as he is, including a girlfriend, and people who motivate him to get out of bed every morning, but when they are more brainy and If she cannot open her heart, she feels hopeless. His parents’ development on this subject is inspiring to watch.

These are just some of the stories Harsh shares in “Bully.” Any one of them could have worked as a complete film of its own. This is especially true of the story that comes toward the end: that of Kirk and Laura Smalley, whose 11-year-old son, Ty, took his own life because of bullying. These are admittedly simple, small-town folks: avid hunters with longtime family roots in the area and St. Louis Cardinals fans forced to reexamine everything that defined them in a tearful haze. Kirk’s honesty and purity of emotion is disturbing, and our time with this family is very short.

As the mother of a 2-year-old boy, I’m glad “Bully” exists. As a film critic, I wish it was more refined.

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If you purchase a product or register for an account through one of the links on our site, we may receive compensation. My reviewing duties at DVD Talk allow me to screen a wide variety of films. Incidentally, I have seen many difficult films of late, both narrative and documentary. These films speak of cruelty and compassion, and raise troubling, perhaps unknowable questions about human nature. Bullying is one such film. Lee Hirsch’s documentary reveals the personal effects of bullying through intimate portraits of several middle and high school children. The stories are sad, and parents remember the children who took their own lives because of bullying. Bully is certainly powerful, although its episodic structure leaves many questions unanswered. More important is the film’s message that its locations and participants are not unique; This is a widespread problem. The film travels to America’s heartland and the home of David and Tina Long, whose son Tyler committed suicide in 2009 after being bullied at school. Middle-schooler Alex Libby revealed that her classmates teased and physically abused her because of her facial features and reserved personality. Jamia Jackson was so fed up with the teasing that she took her mother’s gun on the school bus and threatened her tormentors, landing her in juvenile detention. Teen lesbian Kelby recognizes the fear and ignorance that drives people to condemn her sexuality, and works to help others like her gain acceptance in their communities. Each story is personal but inspires thousands of others, and Bully captures some of the everyday struggles every child and parent faces. Hirsch’s documentary does not attempt to travel every path of its subject, and instead focuses on what its participants are doing to combat bullying. What’s most impressive is how charismatic and valuable each child proves to be without pretending to be selfish. Kelby is notably wise beyond her years, and recognizes that her small, conservative community may not yet be accepting of homosexuality. He refused to write off his detractors, accepting that one day they would change. Alex is easily funny, and his mother wittily comments that he would be a great friend if his classmates gave him the time of day. Harsh somehow captures disturbing footage of Alex being physically assaulted on the school bus, and is forced to reveal it to Alex’s parents to ensure his safety. Alex’s mom is surprised; Alex never shared the extent of the bullying with his parents. Bullying is intentionally one-sided. The audience receives very little explanation from the bullies or their parents, which is indicative of the problem. Lack of communication and unwillingness to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation allows the problem to persist. Alex’s principal means well, but responds inadequately to Alex’s parents’ concerns, insisting that the kids on Alex’s bus are “as good as gold.” Tyler’s father recalls that his son’s torture did not result in a bloody nose or bruises but was damaging enough for him to commit suicide. All of the bullied parents revealed that they never imagined their children would be targeted to this extent. The film asks where the balance lies between letting children work out their problems and prompting parents and school administrators to take immediate, often partisan conciliatory action. I’d love Bully to follow up with its themes – if only for my own peace of mind. The film asks questions that cannot be expected to be answered, and at least a few moments of encounter with bullies or adults advocating a “hands-off” approach would strengthen the overall impression. These disturbing stories are unfortunately not all-too-common, and Bully certainly seems to have an important message. Troubled parents and children may never see this documentary, but Bully should positively impact those it reaches. Blu-ray:

Picture: 1.78:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer includes a host of different stocks, but remains perfectly clear and sharp. Bully is pretty standard HD fare, and recalls a polished newscast or commercial. Flesh tones are natural, colors are well saturated and black levels are normal. Details are fine, and close-ups reveal solid texture and facial intricacies. There is some aliasing and ringing, but Bully looks as good as can be expected. Sound: A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack supports this documentary with clear, balanced dialogue. The mix is ​​naturally front-loaded, but clarity is good for dialogue, score and ambient effects, which carry over to the surround speakers. English SDH and Spanish subtitles available. Packaging and Extras: This two-disc set includes the Blu-ray and a DVD copy of the film. The discs are packaged in a Blu-ray eco-case, and both discs contain only the PG-13 cut of the film. Bully initially received an R rating from the MPAA, and the Weinstein Company lost an appeal to lower the rating to PG-13 without revisions. TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein expressed dismay at the MPAA’s decision, and the film was released theatrically in both an unrated version and a PG-13 version, which contained some strong language. Minimal incision was made for removal. I’m not sure how much footage was ultimately cut, but this PG-13 version includes a scene with extreme profanity. The Blu-ray includes a range of brief extras: Bully’s Special Edition Edited for a Younger Audience (47:11/HD) – This version is considerably shorter, and removes some of the violence and profanity, this makes it more appropriate for younger audiences. . Deleted Scenes (12:35/HD) – Six deleted scenes are included. The Bully Project at Work (7:17/HD) – This piece is about a middle school that showed the film in hopes of facilitating change for its students. Alex After Bully (4:27/SD) – Years after the film was shot, Alex is happy, and explains how many former bullies apologized.

Bully Movie Review | | 4.5