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New Unrated Documentary Film Bully Gains Positive Reviews

The new documentary Bully may shed some light on school bullying. The film, which initially had an R rating because of language, is currently unrated and will be shown in many theaters as a limited release. It is hopeful that this film may prevent future instances of student bullying by creating awareness of this critical issue.

The new documentary directed by Lee Hirsh is about school bullying has garnered a 93% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and also has a high approval by viewers.  The film, which has been shown under limited release in theatres since March 20, 2012, is unrated.   

 What the Film Bully is About

Bully was directed by Lee Hirsch, an award-winning film-maker. The film follows the story of five young adults and their families who have been affected in a tragic way by school bullying. Two of the stories are about boys who committed suicide as a result of school bullying.  Others are  about a teen who is currently in jail for pulling a gun on her tormenters, and a lesbian student harassed by both students and teachers. 

The focus of the documentary is on Alex, who suffers daily tauntings and even physical assaults by other students.  Alarming to think that these daily harassments including punching, shoving, and jabbing are caught on camera. This YouTube video expresses how one young person feels about being bullied at school.

The Rating Controversy Over Bully

The MPAA initially intended to give Bully an R rating because of language, which means that to see the film anyonel under the age of 17 must be accompanied by an adult.  Because there was concern that the documentary would not reach the audience who might benefit most, young teens who find themselves victimized by bullying, the film’s producer made the decision to send the documentary out with no rating.  It is being shown as a limited release. Some cinema chains have decided to show the film and others will not. Still others intend to treat the film as if it had the R rating.

 Bullying can have Lasting Effects

The ratings controversy raised awareness of the film and its potential value in bringing the problem of school bullying out in the open. School should be a place for learning, not a battleground for survival.  Bullying can have a lasting effect on future happiness and peace of mind.  To read more about the lasting effects of bullying, read this article on school bullies.

The documentary film Bully may serve a good purpose in opening up discussions in schools about the problem, and should be allowed to be shown despite the language.  It's nothing students being bullied haven't heard before, and might help find solutions to this ongoing problem that is often laughed off or ignored as a "rite of passage" until it gets out of control. 

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