Bully: a review
Well first I need to say hello out there in blogland. Sorry I have been gone y’all. My computer died on me at Christmastime and then we lost our internets. THEN, I started having seizures more often, so I had to deal with that. THEN we moved from Kansas City, Missouri to Orlando, Florida and that took a month of our time. But I’m back and writing again, though, and that is what matters.
Today, what I want to write about is the movie Bully. Yeah, I know I’m like a year late with this too. But I saw this in Redbox last night and had to rent it. This movie blew me away. It had me crying, smiling, and hoping I can do something to change things for my kids, so no one ever has to go through what I, and many other bullied kids, had to go through growing up.
Bully follows the story of a few teens, their bullies and, more importantly, their schools’ reaction to it, including what that bullying can ultimately cause. Whether it be bringing guns to school or hanging yourself, Bully shows just how far kids can be driven by their tormentors.
In Tuttle, Oklahoma, Kelby has been bullied unmercifully and her family has been treated as outcasts ever since she came out of the closet. In Mississippi, a 14-year-old honor student, Ja’Meya, still faces an uncertain fate after unending bullying made her bring her mother’s loaded gun on a school bus and brandish it to intimidate her bullies in an effort to make it stop; as a result, she was initially charged with multiple felony counts and faced decades in prison.
In Perkins, Oklahoma, Kirk and Laura Smalley are launching a national campaign against bullying after the suicide of their 11-year-old son, Ty. The film’s power is kind of undercut by its narrow geographic focus, which seems to associate bullying with conservative or working-class areas in red states. Lord knows the bullying goes on in schools in blue states and major cities as well. The filmmakers could easily have found similar cases involving the children of urban sophisticates.
Sadder than the shots of tormenting is the administration’s ineptitude. Over and over and over again we see schools just dismissing what amounts to mental and physical torture in a place where our kids are supposed to try to learn.
Guys, this movie is powerful. I cried at least three different times. It punches you in the gut if you have been bullied. I grew up taller than everybody else, and then fatter. I remember the day I started my eating disorder in 7th grade, after a week where everybody called me beached whale instead of my real name. I remember the teachers not knowing HOW to help back then (my eternal thanks to the librarian who let me hide in the library and read instead of face the lunchroom). I remember fantasizing about either killing myself or my tormentors just to make the whole thing stop. I was lucky. I went to a small school district that cared enough to keep an eye on me and let me hide in the library and visit with the teachers. I am SO scared for my girls, going to a larger school in Florida. Ugh… middle school.