Take a moment and think back to junior high. Students walked the halls, gathered in groups to give the rundown of the weekend, and spread rumors like a plague. On bad days, one could see a girl amongst her friends bawling her eyes out, trying to make sense of the slander that was now becoming her label. Sometimes, one would be able to see a boy being pushed around by a group of teens, cruel names and threats thrown in his face while the youth attempted to flee into the safety of a classroom. Situations like these are ignored, repressed from memory. But the reality of this subject is that it is very real and ultimately devastating. Bullying takes place in every school and it is out of hand. There is no control, no one is stepping in to prevent it, and it is ruining the lives of students.
Lee Hirsch’s documentary shines the light on this issue in his documentary Bully. His camera follows the lives of five students as they interact with the teachers and students of the classrooms, allowing audiences to see the fallout of this problem. No punches are pulled, as Hirsch does not edit out any of the profane, destructive assaults that occur throughout the film. Viewers are shown every single incident, from beating to name calling. But Hirsch also displays the horrid reality of bullying through his interviews with the parents of bullied children, many who have lost their child to suicide due to bullying.
Watching these scenes is as much heartbreaking as it is haunting. This documentary, which is now in wide release, does not have a rating branded on it. While many may find this peculiar, people should not be swayed away from watching this film. Though there are moments of profanity coupled with some hard-to-watch scenes, the film should be viewed by everyone. This is a very real issue with very real consequences. Parents need to watch this documentary to become more aware and understanding of bullying and kids and teens need to watch it to learn how to communicate these problems with the proper individuals. Bullying is becoming an epidemic in the public school system. Bully is a reminder of this. By opening eyes to the problem, the documentary succeeds with its purpose: to make people aware and to inspire action. Everyone everywhere should watch this movie. And after the credits roll, remember to stick up for the “outcast.” Talk with the “new kid.” Be nice and smile. And never be the bully.