Friday, April 6, 2012

Everyone Should Support the Bully Movie

This past Monday, I was lucky enough to be able to attend an advance screening of the documentary Bully at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto. I had been waiting to see this since I first heard about it and I was definitely not disappointed.

I could not be happier that director Lee Hirsch decided to make a film about bullying. It's about time that people are now truly starting to pay attention and admit that we have a serious, serious problem. After all of the headlines we've inevitably read in the last couple of years, Bully could not have come at a better time.
Now, I think the thing that shocked me the most was that in the United States the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) slapped this film with an R rating. In a discussion panel after the Canadian premiere Lee Hirsch made sure to point out the hypocrisy of it all. I hadn't thought about this, but they give PG and PG-13 ratings to many films that glorify and even "sexify" violence. Lee was absolutely right. 
Discussion panel with Lee Hirsch (iPhone photo from back row)
They of course didn't just accept this unfair R rating. Harvey Weinstein along with Alex Libby, one of the bullied boys featured in the film stood before the appeals board. In his statement, Alex told the board that they were basically saying that he couldn't see his own life! They lost by one vote. It's not a total loss though, they ended up with the film being unrated which is definitely better than R. Canada on the other hand gave Bully a PG rating in every province with the exception of Quebec who gave it a G. Go Canada!

*UPDATE: The MPAA has finally granted the film a PG-13 rating!*

If you know me, then you know the subject of bullying really hits home with me. I've said this before and I'll say it again, I am so glad that I did not grow up in the digital age. The bullying I encountered while growing up was nothing compared to what's going on these days, but I will never ever forget the hurtful words and poor treatment. It didn't follow me home from school unless you're talking the odd prank phone call, but today there is no escaping it. Today you're bullied even when you're in what's supposed to be your safe place.

Bully is such a powerful and moving film. Teachers need to see this, kids to see this, everybody needs to see this! With a generation of kids that are the least empathetic ever, now is the time. It's time to make a change. It's time to stand together against bullying. Do I think that bullying will ever go away completely? No. But I do truly believe that we can make a difference and save some young lives.

A little word of advice for when you see this film? Bring kleenex.

Check out the trailer below:

Make sure to visit their Canadian website BullyMovie.Ca to demand it in your city and while you're at it, pledge to take a stand against bullying!

You can catch Bully at the Varsity Cinemas in Toronto beginning Friday April 6th.

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