bullyA documentary called Bully is getting buzz as it opens this weekend. It’s only April and many movies to be seen before year’s end, but I’m confident when I say: Bully is one of the most important movies of the year.

In this heartbreaking documentary, we follow a bunch of kids and their families from the Midwest & Southern USA, including two families who’ve lost their children to suicide. All are trying to deal with one thing: bullying.

Bully lets the viewer be a fly on the wall – in the homes, schools, principal’s office, even on the school buses. At times you want to cry seeing how some of these poor parents are dealing with the loss of a child (the loss of a child is tragic enough due to illness or an accident, but to lose your child because they feel suicide is the only alternative left to them – the grief must be beyond comprehension).

Other moments are almost as unbearable: Young Alex Libby suffers the torment from other kids on a daily basis, and this desperately lonely child can only confuse bullying and physical abuse for attention. At other times you find yourself wanting to scream, as school officials look the other way – clearly fearing any type of controversy or ramifications from other parents, lawsuits – and school principals who write off this criminal behaviour as kids just being kids.

In the case of young Libby, on top of all he has to endure, there’s something terribly wrong when this boy (who the other kids refer to as “fish face”) is the most intelligent, sensitive person in an scenario involving confused parents and naive, almost delusional school officials.

Bully is a movie that deserves to be seen by every teacher, school official, parent, and child 10-18yrs. Although the “F” word is used several times (why powerful Harvey Weinstein had to edit them out to get a PG rating un the U.S. instead of an R), I commend our Canadian ratings board for not rating this movie an “R” but rather what it deserves: a PG rating.

Bully gets a 9/10.

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