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Customer Review

54 of 59 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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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 25, 2013 12:06:14 PM PDT
Rainie says:
Just reading these revieus gives me a stomach ach~
Why would I watch on purpose something most of use endured or saw happen thru out the many generations of the public school system?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2013 3:07:38 PM PDT
I think this particular film serves to illustrate exactly what kids today endure. When people actually see it, it's not as easy to blow it off and they get a sense of the intensity. A lot of people just don't realize how bad it is these days.

Posted on Feb 11, 2014 2:58:31 AM PST
Carencromom says:
your review was interesting until you reach a low point of "speculating" about how the sheriff must do unspeakable things in the back seat of his car while watching Beretta. Sounds like slander and bullying to me. Yes, it's good to be angry; no, it's not appropriate to speak in this kind of way in a review about bullying. Just sayin' . you lost credibility there.
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