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111 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Bully" is a must-see for any and all kids age 10 and up
Not sure why Amazon lists this as "The Bully Project", but we are talking indeed about the documentary "Bully", whose initial R rating by the MPAA Caused such an outcry (more on that later).

"Bully" (90 min.) is the self-explanatory title of this documentary, directed by Lee Hirsch (who he himself was a victim of bullying when growing up, reason for wanting to...
Published on April 15, 2012 by Paul Allaer

versus
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for what it is, but missing a lot
All the reviewers keep saying that all kids need to see this. I think all adults need to see this and get lessons along that way on how to deal with these situations. There were so many points in this where the adults fail, even the parents. Specifically Alex's parents. His own sister calls him names and the parents do nothing. At one point his dad worries that his sister...
Published 16 months ago by P. Wiidel


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111 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Bully" is a must-see for any and all kids age 10 and up, April 15, 2012
This review is from: The Bully Project (DVD)
Not sure why Amazon lists this as "The Bully Project", but we are talking indeed about the documentary "Bully", whose initial R rating by the MPAA Caused such an outcry (more on that later).

"Bully" (90 min.) is the self-explanatory title of this documentary, directed by Lee Hirsch (who he himself was a victim of bullying when growing up, reason for wanting to make this film). The movie basically follows 5 students in schools in Georgia, Iowa, Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma as they deal with bullying in an almost daily basis, some with tragic results. There is a lot of footage from school buses, which appears to be ground zero for bullying. I assume Hirsch was able to mount some cameras in the bus unbeknowst to the kids. What we see is sometimes shocking. In the case of 12 yr. old Alex, the bullying becomes so violent that in the middle of the movie, we are informed that the film producers were so concerned with Alex's safety that they decided to share the school bus footage with Alex's parents and also with his school principal. Next we see the parents meeting with the school's Assistant Principal, who informs the parents that she is familiar with bus 54 (the bus Alex takes) and has done that route herself on occasion and "these kids are good as gold" (as you cam imagine, the theatre audience I was watching this with let out a huge moan at that point). Indeed, throughout the film, school administrations seemingly do little or nothing, or are in complete denial, or both. Just outrageous. Back to the rating of the movie: the MPAA simply made itself look like a buffoon by giving this movie an R rating, when in reality this movie should be watched by every single kid in America 10 years and older. The movie's rating eventually was given a PG-13 rating (in contrast, in Canada the movie was rated PG).

I saw this movie this weekend at the Esquire Theatre here in Cincinnati, at a private screening by the Council on Child Abuse (COCA). Kudos for the great work they do in spreading the awareness that bullying is a serious issue in today's society. Meanwhile, "Bully" is HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommended!
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should see it, but not everyone will, February 17, 2013
This review is from: Bully (DVD)
My mom recently gave me a bag of papers, report cards and mementos from my school days. She meant it to be a nice thing for me to have in adulthood to remember my school days. People who want me to put the past behind me seem to also be the same people who won't let me forget it. I had to stuff that bag in the closet. I can't look at it without crying. Why were they so mean to me? Why was I such a bad person? Why did they hate me so much? I graduated high school in 1989, and the bullying I endured still hurts.

If you're an adult survivor of the kind of heinous treatment the kids in this movie endure, it may trigger a PTSD episode. If it never happened to you, you will be absolutely stunned at what goes on. They don't sugar-coat anything. Some of the footage is raw and disturbing. These kids know that the cameras are there; they've been recorded since before they were born. They know they are being watched, and they still behave like animals. It makes you really wonder what they do when they know no one is looking.

It is kind of limited in scope. They never interview the bullies, so we never know why they think it's OK to treat other kids that way. It doesn't get much into cyber bullying. All of the stories are from small towns. I don't think they intentionally tried to smear small town America, but having one story from a major metropolitan school system would have been helpful. Where are school administrators who fight bullying? They're certainly not in this film, and after I watched it, I'm convinced they don't even exist.

Alex stands out because they followed him around the most, yet they neglected to mention that he has Asperger Syndrome. With Kelby they mentioned she was gay almost every chance they had, but Alex's autism was never mentioned. Autistic people across the spectrum run a very high risk of being bullied, taken advantage of and being victim to criminal activity. Keeping autism cloaked in this movie was a horrendous disservice to Alex and to autistic people everywhere.

Everyone is giving Alex a hard time. The kids literally pummel him with fists and words. The school administrators insist that he must have some part in how the other kids are treating him. He must have done something to provoke them. Even Alex's own parents blame him for not doing something about it, but they never explain WHAT he is supposed to do. Their only concern seems to be that his younger sister not be teased for having him as a brother. Alex is treated as a sub-standard human, as though he is less than anyone else, and it's sickening to watch.

You'll be outraged at the other cases, too. Ja'Meya was bullied so much that she brought a gun on her school bus. The sheriff gets some kind of sick pleasure out of stacking as many felonies onto a bullied black girl as he can. I can only speculate what unspeakable things a man like this does in his patrol car back seat while flashing his emergency lights and watching re-runs of Beretta.

Kids in a mini-van ran over Kelby because she is gay, and they call it bullying. She's not welcome at church, and her teachers openly participate in the bullying and hate. She wanted to stay and try to make a difference and change the status quo, but even the strongest among us have their limits. After another humiliating incident, Kelby can't take any more, and decides it's time to go to another school.

The film also discusses two boys who were bullied so badly they killed themselves. It's gut-wrenching to watch those parents grieve. The movie tries to end on a hopeful note, but it's really not enough. Letting balloons go into the sky won't stop bullying or cure the incompetence of the adults who are supposed to protect these kids. This movie's website doesn't do much, either. They sell DVDs, "educator toolkits" and ask visitors to take pledges against bullying. We are encouraged to throw money at the problem rather than solve it, because it's the American way. Everyone needs to see it, but thanks to the way they're distributing it, not everyone will. The bullied kids not just in this film but everywhere deserve better.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and Disturbing, January 29, 2013
This review is from: Bully (DVD)
BULLY is a powerful, disturbing documentary feature from director Lee Hirsch that sparked a national movement that rallied people to stand up to school bullying, hate and intolerance.

This is a difficult film to watch, as the camera captures the emotionally painful lives of five families whose children were victims of school bullying. Two of the kids committed suicide, while another in a desperate effort to get her fellow students to leave her alone, threatened then with a gun and wound up in jail.

However, what is truly distressing about BULLY is the "kids will be kids" and "there's not really much that we can do" attitude of the idiotic school administrators and local police who seem to prefer to ignore the issue.

Perhaps if officials like these had addressed the bullying problems in their school, a tragedy like Columbine would not have occurred.

BULLY is not "entertainment," but it is a film that every kid, parent and school official should watch.

The DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment contains many deleted scenes, featurettes and other extras.

© Michael B. Druxman
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So Much Sadness, February 15, 2013
This review is from: Bully (DVD)
Where do I begin? "Bully" is a movie about bullying--that age old rite of passage for many, many young children. I call it a rite of passage because I suffered from bullying. And I received about as much support from the teachers and other school staff as the poor children in this movie. Turn away, look the other way, jump on the abused with both feet; it all is like some sort of shark feeding frenzy. But there are no sharks. Instead you have wolves planning their next meal, awaiting their next prey, and they are oh so meticulous in their hunt.

"Bully" was so hard to watch. I guess seeing what happened to these children (some lived; some did not) brought back too many memories of how I felt. I had no one to turn to: my parents were vicious people who thought every problem could be solved with clinched fists or clubs of some sort; teachers would not help, and if you would have gone to the police, you'd have been laughed out of their office. These children suffered the same: the vice principal who was about as useful as a screendoor on a submarine. I was repulsed at her trying to make a bullying victim feel that somehow he was just as much to blame as his tormentor was.

The viewer is introduced to many cases of bullying. Alex Hopkins was one child who suffered so many indignities on a daily basis, that he finally began to feel NOTHING. His parents (or what passed for parents) were in complete denial of what he was going through. The conversation that his father had with him (in the presence of Alex's sister) was sickening. All the father was concerned about was what was Alex going to do to protect his sister because she was already being picked on. Sister's reply was, "They pick on me because they think you're creepy." What was the father's reaction: ZERO. You then are introduced to Kelby, a young lesbian who has just come to terms with her sexuality. Fellow classmates refused to sit by her, she was not allowed to attend her former church (there's a christian for ya'), and she was a constant target of abuse. I remember her first statement was, "I'm not going anywhere; I'm going to stay here and change things." Unfortunately, the movie ended with her saying "Maybe it's time I went somewhere else and tried to make a difference." You meet Ja'Maya Jackson, a black youth whose daily bullying ended with her facing life in prison. She was 13. It seems most people think unless blood is drawn, then there's "no harm/no foul." But I have told many people, I would much rather be hit than endure the mental abuse that goes hand-in-hand with bullying. The saddest story is about Tyler Long, who took the indignities so long until he could not take anymore. He killed himself.

"Bully" was directed by Lee Hirsch, is rated PG-13, and lasts 99 minutes. I encourage EVERY PARENT who has school-aged children to sit down, watch this together, and then have a nice, LONG talk. You could just be saving a life. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS FILM SHOULD BE MANDATORY IN EVERY SCHOOL, February 15, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Bully (Blu-ray + DVD) (Blu-ray)
I was very eager to get this film and watch it . It was carefully produced and very well done.
It really asks you to look at this pandemic bullying. It does what voices cant it makes you look at what is going on in schools everyday. A situation that has morphed into an extreme form a grotesque torture of our children everyday. When the film visited the parents of children who had committed suicide I broke down. It just makes me so sad that these children were in such a dark place emotionally and that the school district would not take responsibility for not protecting these children. Schools are always screaming that they are De Facto parents while children attend their schools . Alleluia then what happens when our children are bulled? they look the other way and feel no shame for it . There is no other way to tell this story people make light of it and then get perplexed when these children take their own lives because of this relentless bullying . Our society better take a stand as a whole . I was reading a blog another mom wrote about this and she quoted Hillary Clinton, "It takes a village to raise a child". I have one better than and its by a prophet who I adore Rev. Martin Luther King "Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way." That said it all as a woman, a mother , and as a human we cant let our children put up with this. Some kids can take it but some cant and there is another beast to tackle the internet which pretty much feels like the whole entire world to a child who is breaking down day by day . This needs to be our first lady, Michele Obama's priority . One child even brought a gun on the bus to protect herself. She spent time in jail a straight A student who could not longer bear the everyday consistent pain of being bullied ,cursed at , taunted and ignored by school officials who just do not want to get involved. I wish this movie could be part of every schools First day making it a pre- requisite to attend every school . But our society is to worried about the rights of the perpetrators and think nothing about the victims. Tyler Long, hung himself in the closet of his room . He is one of the many children who are dead because of bullying. What just happened in Connecticut, scares and has scarred us all. But was the work of someone who was deranged and cut off so emotionally to take the lives of innocent children. Bullies do the same and walk away they destroy a child's life . We have just heard a report from the Harvard School of Medicine stating that bullying changes a child's DNA. I could have told them that without the study as a victim and a fighter my memories of school are sad. If not for wonderful parents and a dad who taught me how to fight I don't know if I could have gotten through it. Being called a spic everyday cursed at and closing the locker on my hands . Until one day I lost it and beat someone to the point of blood curling cries for someone to get me off of her. That was the beginning of my freedom kids were afraid and I kept up the chin brought a heavy linked chain to school and meant it. NO one and I mean No one dared to wake up that devil inside of me again. As my own son was bullied in 4th grade the feeling came back and I went up to the school and fought that fight . I realized it was not worth it and pulled him out and put him in a private school were he is adored . I thank God everyday for that decision . And for the job I have to make it happen . Life does not have to be that hard for an innocent child cant we all stand together and make life wonderful for them all?. I pray everyday that all our villages start to take Hillary to heart like her or not and my beloved Doctor King,always stand up for what is right you would want someone to do the same.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for what it is, but missing a lot, April 6, 2013
This review is from: Bully (Blu-ray + DVD) (Blu-ray)
All the reviewers keep saying that all kids need to see this. I think all adults need to see this and get lessons along that way on how to deal with these situations. There were so many points in this where the adults fail, even the parents. Specifically Alex's parents. His own sister calls him names and the parents do nothing. At one point his dad worries that his sister will now be bullied because Alex has not come forward with the situation. When the sister says she's going to get bullied because all the kids at her school think he is creepy, the dad says nothing! When the mother sees footage of Alex being bullied on the bus and then talks with him about it, she does a poor job. It's almost like she blames him for accepting it and asks if he likes it. She should be modeling empathy and validating his feelings. It's very sad to watch.

Don't even get me started on the school officials. They were worse.

And, watching the way the bullies act and speak made me wonder where they learned that behavior. Probably from their parents!

It's too much to put this on the kids (bullies or victims). Bullying lays mainly on the shoulders of adults - parents, teachers, school staff, community members, etc....
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Want something real? Watch this., June 1, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Bully (Amazon Instant Video)
I am a school bus driver. I am so glad someone put this movie out there. I wish they had pointed out the all the responsibilities of the bus driver. Drivers watch students, traffic, directions, etc. I don't see half of what my camera catches. There should be monitors on all school buses! Unfortunately, that principal is to much like the ones I deal with everyday. Every parent of a middle school student should watch this.
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30 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must See..., April 23, 2012
By 
thornhillatthemovies.com (Venice, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Bully Project (DVD)
They say there is no such thing as bad publicity and if you are promoting a movie, that is generally the truth. Any publicity, any mention of your film will generally sell more tickets. Even if all of the mentions are negative, some people, all of the other 'thornhills' out there, will go to see what all of the bad word of mouth is about.

But if the publicity is good, or unrelated to the quality of the film, the movie stands to gain from the attention. "Bully" is the latest example of a film receiving a lot of publicity and gaining viewers from this publicity. And that's a good thing, because the film needs to be seen by lots of people to get the message out to help anyone and everyone that could be affected by bullying.

A brief recap. The film received an R-rating due to the use of the F-word a few times. Keep in mind; this is a documentary, so the footage shows real kids using this word in a negative way towards another kid. But if a film receives an 'R', many theater chains restrict access to the film. Worse yet, many schools would not be able to show the film, and use it as a learning tool. So the Weinstein Company decided to release the film 'Unrated'. Unfortunately, the major theater chains tend to restrict access to 'Unrated" films, if they show them at all, even more than they would an 'R' rating. Generally, an "Unrated" film would or should receive an 'NC-17' or 'X' rating, ratings reserved for films with explicit sex. Thankfully, only one of the major chains refused to show the film. The others restricted their showings to a handful of theaters in major cities on the East and West Coasts. But word of mouth, protests and action by concerned viewers have helped to get this changed and the film is slowly expanding to more and more theaters.

Great. That is one problem solved. But why did "Bully" get an 'R' rating initially when a film like "Taken" gets a 'PG-13'? This is part of an ongoing debate about the usefulness of the Ratings Board and all of their outdated (?) idiosyncrasies. Many have long decried the fact that the Ratings Board tends to look at scenes depicting intimacy between two consenting adults much more harshly than extremely violent fare. Essentially, they are making it easier to watch violence than to watch passion and love. I would prefer my own kids to see passion and love and be influenced by that rather than by excessive violence. But violence is apparently more acceptable and much more successful at the box office.

That said, I think the ratings should be used as intended, as a guideline. When I was growing up my mother let me see practically any film I wanted to. And the simple reason for this is she knew I knew the films were not real. So I went to see horror films, adult themed dramas and R-rated comedies when I was young. If I ever saw anything that disturbed me, I knew it wasn't real so it didn't stay with me. If I needed to talk about it, I did. If your kid wants to see an R-rated film, ask them why. If you are satisfied with the answer, let them go. I have a friend who goes to an R-rated film his daughter wants to see first to see if there is anything that would disturb her. If he is okay with the film and thinks it will be OK for his daughter, he lets her go. When I asked if he was OK with a film containing excessive language, he said it didn't concern him as much as violence because he was sure his daughter heard worse on the schoolyard every day. Both good alternatives.

"Bully", directed and photographed by Lee Hirsch, concentrates on the stories of five pre-teen and teen boys and girls, all of whom are the victims of bullying at school. The overall power of a film like this depends on the emotional impact of each of the individual stories. All five are very moving, but they don't have the same impact and that creates an uneven viewing experience.

Kelby is a teen girl who lives in a small town. When she realizes she is a lesbian and people in the town begin to find out, she and her family are virtually shut out by neighbors and lifelong friends. Her father offers to move the family, but Kelby doesn't want to give in. Kelby is a quiet young lady and doesn't talk a lot. The bulk of the story comes from listening to her dad talk about the effects of this news on their town, and how their friends and neighbors reacted. The majority of the time we spend with Kelby is spent with her and her friends, standing around, smiling, and goofing off. This story is interesting and moving, but more because of how her father relates affects of the bullying of his daughter to us. Obviously every kid is going to be different, but we need to hear the story from Kelby, to feel her emotion and how it changed her. Just watching her stand around and goof off with her friends doesn't accomplish this.

Ja'Maya is a young girl who gets arrested because she acts out against the kids who were bullying her. Her mother fills us in on the details and the story moves forward from there. Again, the story is powerful, but we need to hear more from Ja'Maya. Or have more access to see how it changes her.

These two stories, while powerful, just don't hit the same level of emotion of the other stories.

The film centers on Alex, an awkward, slightly gawky pre-teen who is so desperate for friends that he comes to think of the kids who are bullying him as his friends. When his parents eventually discover the magnitude of the problem, he states that if the bullies stop, who will be his friends? It is a heart wrenching moment and you can see the pain in his mother's eyes. Alex doesn't quite seem to realize this is a problem and that sort of amplifies the emotion for us even more.

The filmmakers are allowed access to Alex's bus and record a lot of footage of the other kids bullying him. When the problem gets out of hand, they show the footage to his parents and the people in charge of his school. His parents are mortified and arrange a meeting with the vice principal, a woman who is so out of touch she elicits groans from the audience. Before this meeting, the filmmakers follow her as she patrols the halls of the school. She watches as another young man is bullied and stops both kids, insisting they shake hands and make-up. When the victim won't, he wants nothing to do with the other kid; she turns on the victim and decides he needs to be disciplined. She goes so far as to say that because he wouldn't forgive the bully and shake his hand, he is as bad as the bully. Just when I thought my mouth couldn't hit the floor any faster, her meeting with Alex's parents just illustrates the full extent of her lack of empathy and awareness.

Alex's story is very sad, and I have to admit that I felt more than a few parallels between our lives. The funny thing is that you just know Alex is going to grow up and completely change. His quirky look will deepen and probably develop into a handsome profile, giving him the looks of an Abercrombie & Fitch model. Isn't that how most movie stars and models got started? Aren't they always the fat kid or the awkward kid? Clearly, the parallels between our lives end there.

The film opens with a father telling us the story of his teen son. As soon as he begins talking, and you realize where the story is headed, you will most likely start reaching for the hankies. Later, another father talks about the problems his son faced in school. In an effort to deal with his grief, he starts a campaign to bring attention to the problem, which begins to gain more members and public awareness, through social media efforts. Some of these group meetings are shown at the end of the film

All of the stories told are powerful, but the two most predominant narratives really tug at your heart strings. Because the others aren't as powerful, the film feels a bit uneven and less-memorable.

Also, I would really like to have seen the filmmakers tell the story of at least one kid from a big city. All of the subjects featured are from small towns in the Midwest and South. The problem doesn't exist in New York, Los Angeles or Chicago? Presenting a story from a big city, any big city, might have helped to make the film's message that the problem is universal seem more... universal.

"Bully" is not a perfect documentary or the most powerful documentary I have ever seen, but it is very good and presents a message that needs to be seen. Should be seen. Must be seen.

"Bully" is rated 'R' literally because of the F-word. Let's face it. Your kids hear this many times a day on the school yard. Isn't it better that they see a film that might open their eyes to a problem, might help them communicate with you about a problem, might help start a discussion about a problem that seems to be pretty widespread?

I would say "Yes".
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Horrifying look at children in pain, February 15, 2013
By 
Kona (Emerald City) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Bully (DVD)
This shocking and painful documentary exposes the misery several middle-schoolers endure daily at the hands of their bullies. We also see bereaved parents whose children couldn't take the abuse anymore and ended their lives. It's an intense film and one that calls for action.

I sobbed throughout the film; the tormented children are so innocent and helpless. I was angry at the "Everything's fine" attitude of the school officials whose refusal to help hurts the children just as much as the bullies. My one complaint with the movie is that, while it calls for awareness and action, it's preaching to the choir; at no time are the bullies, their parents, or the neglectful school staff punished. The extras show anti-bullying rallies, but none of the actual bullies attend them. I wanted justice!

This is a very important film that will open many eyes to the pain of bullying; I'm not sure any of offenders will see it or the error of their ways, unfortunately.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do yourself a favor and watch this, May 1, 2013
By 
Pikminfan "bobsworld3" (Rossburg, Ohio United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bully (Blu-ray + DVD) (Blu-ray)
My sentiments on "Bully" echo the majority of reviewers here who say that this documentary is a must see for children and adults. What's perhaps even more shocking than the bullying acts depicted though is the jaw dropping cluelessness of many of the school administrators. As I was watching this doc, I formed some choice words for the completely inept Vice Principal of the school Alex attended. The scene where this she-imbecile is talking to Alex's parents in her office and she just suddenly stops listening to their serious problem and starts talking about her own grandchildren out of the blue as if this poor family's problems mean nothing to her was absolutely jaw dropping. The complete insensitivity to the problem this woman showed (and displayed in other events as well) is completely mind blowing. I sincerely hope that hopelessly incompetent woman lost her job after this doc came out. Bullying is a huge problem, myself and my best friend were bullied in school. Like so many of today's kids-I tried to get help and like so many of them my pleas went unheard-simply falling on the deaf ears of administrators who did not care enough to step in and get involved. I sure hope this documentary opens a few eyes. It's heartbreaking to watch these kids get repeatedly psychologically damaged on a daily basis. And that's exactly what bullying is-psychological damage. We need to get involved and protect our kids. I am grateful for this inspiring documentary.
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Bully (Blu-ray + DVD)
Bully (Blu-ray + DVD) by Lee Hirsch (Blu-ray - 2013)
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