I took both my kids (11.5 and 9) to see Bully and I am so glad I did. For those who don’t know, Bully is a documentary that follows five kids and their families who are being effected by bullying in different ways–some more grave than others, all heartbreaking. I took a little flack for it from some friends as it was before the NR rating had changed to the PG-13, but here’s my POV: if I let my kids watch the news (kinda) and read The Hunger Games (yes), then they can see this movie–which, btw, is far more relevant to their lives than the news and more appropriate for them than Hunger Games.
The obvious reason I was glad they saw it was that they saw the direct and indirect consequences of bullying. What I didn’t anticipate was the dialogue that would ensue that most certainly would NOT have happened had we not seen this movie. I have always been aware that I am lucky to live in a place that allows for free personal expression–the weirder the better — and a level of individual anonymity — meaning its not a small town, one can walk the streets and not feel like everyone knows your business which is good when you’re going through a divorce or an illness or you have a “unconventional domestic arrangement.” Truly. Nobody. Cares. What both my kids noticed in this film was how in these smaller towns these families were suffering so much from scrutiny, whereas in our city it wouldn’t be a blip on the radar.
A few days ago, I was having this same conversation with my hair stylist (a twenty-something heterosexual female). I was testing the premise of this blog post in essence saying how lucky we are to live in this metropolis. Her comment was but we shouldn’t worry, because that isn’t our problem, we’ve created our Utopia. To that I said, well maybe, but we are really cloistered. New York City — where we live — really is sequestered from the rest of the world and does not represent the majority sentiment. All we need to do is go to an airport or travel, or try to adopt a child, or wed or do anything like that outside the status quo and we get reminded Utopia doesn’t really exist for anyone.
While its important my children see the dramatic and harsh realities of bullying and was moved by that, I found it just as significant that they picked up on the nuanced bullying more face that tends to oppresses into adulthood unbeknownst to us.
Go see Bully. Better yet, go see it with your kids and then make time after to talk…about whatever they want to talk about. You will be surprised, inspired and hopefully a new dialogue will begin that will continue for a long time to come.
Not sure if the movie is right for your family? Make an informed decision.
See the trailer here:
– Here is the IMDb Parent Guide with specifics on sex, violence, scary scenes and alcohol and drug references.
– Here is the IMDb link to the Bully Movie page.
- Bullying: What is Bullying? (visual.ly)