The WTF Girls took on a documentary and a pretty tough movie to watch for May. Not the typical summer blockbuster, but a much more serious and relevant subject – bullying.
“Bully” – currently in limited release — has been labeled as controversial not only due to its subject matter but to its initial R-rating by the MPAA. This rating would have excluded the kids are directly featured in the movie and those it is aimed to target. At time of review, the movie was rated (PG-13). Here’s our take on the documentary.
Within the first three minutes of watching “Bully,” I already had tears running down my face. You could say that I spent a lot of the movie that way. It’s gut-wrenching at times to see the look on a young kid’s face as he or she faces cruelty, exclusion, violence and prejudice by their peers. The movie itself does not feature overt violence or language, with the exception of a couple of f-words, but shows how the behavior affects the kids and their families. In one scene, a teacher asks a small boy, “What did they do?” He responds, “They called me a faggot.” “And, how did that make you feel?” she responds. He lowers his head and whispers, “It broke my heart.”
I’d recommend this movie to those with kids or those without. It’s a tough movie to watch at times, but it’s a subject that definitely needs to be brought to light. The one aspect I felt was lacking was the sample of kids featured. The movie focused on kids in smaller towns or Southern states. Since bullying is so widespread all over the country, a more diverse group of kids from larger cities or in a higher socio-economic group would’ve added a more complete feel.
The topic of bullying is a difficult movie to watch at times. However, unlike most documentary films, this is exactly why you need to watch it. Bullying has gotten to a point in the last few years that is unacceptable, kids are hurting themselves. It’s heartbreaking. I’ve worked with kids, and I know that kids can be vile, but that is not an excuse for letting this behavior continue. The film follows several different kids who are being teased for different reasons and their different reactions to this. Some of these reactions maybe be hard to witness, you are forced to experience their turmoil, and through this you understand what the kids are going through. This is important, though, and you get an in depth look at what these kids deal with on a daily basis. One of the most frustrating things in the film is seeing how the administration handles what happens in school. On the flipside, you began to plan a course of action if you’re ever involved in a situation like this. I can’t recommend this film enough. It’s an important look at the darker side of our society, but there is also a glimmer of hope.
If you are interested in getting involved, there are several grassroots organizations that are popping up throughout our country to help these kids, from Standing for the Silent that is profiled in the movie to the It Gets Better Campaign. The good thing about this, you can do that here in Austin.
On May 19 at McCallum High School, there will be an anti-bully rally called Make It Stop: Anti Bullying Event. Please take a look under our events tab “Things to do in Austin” for the event info and please get involved. We can make a change.