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Ja'Meya Jackson, Kelby Johnson, Londa Johnson, Bob Johnson, Alex Libby ... see more see more... , Jackie Libby , Philip Libby , Maya Libby , Jada Libby , Ethan Libby , Logan Libby , Kim Lockwood , David Long , Tina Long , Teryn Long , Troy Long , Devon Matthews , Barbara Primer , Kirk Smalley , Laura Smalley , Trey Wallace

Directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, Bully is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary. At its heart are those with huge stakes in this issue whose stories e... read more read more...ach represent a different facet of America's bullying crisis. Bully follows five kids and families over the course of a school year. Stories include two families who have lost children to suicide and a mother awaiting the fate of her 14-year-old daughter who has been incarcerated after bringing a gun on her school bus. With an intimate glimpse into homes, classrooms, cafeterias and principals' offices, the film offers insight into the often cruel world of the lives of bullied children. -- (C) Weinstein

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78% liked it

41,817 ratings


85% liked it

127 critics

PG-13, 1 hr. 38 min.

Directed by: Lee Hirsch

Release Date: April 13, 2012

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DVD Release Date: February 12, 2013

Stats: 1,043 reviews


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Flixster Reviews (1,043)

  • September 26, 2013
    One of the more corrosive deterrents to America's education system has to be bullying, which has becoming an increasingly dangerous public mental health issue in the past twenty years. With the innumerable teen suicides, the school shootings, and outcries from parental groups as ... read morewell as the cyber sphere, bullying is in the forefront of everyone's mind, and yet causes more harm than adults can even imagine. For those of us who have been part of the bullied masses at some point in our lives, we know the toll that it takes, and the scars it leaves, and that's the main focus of this documentary. It deals precisely with how bullying makes a child feel, how irreparable the damage is to that child, and the oftentimes horrific steps they take in alleviating their pain. Filmmaker Lee Hirsch follows several children who have or are experiencing bullying, to a point where it makes them deeply depressed. One child has already taken his life, and the film follows his family's struggles with taking on the school board, another girl is facing felony charges after taking a weapon on a school bus to stop her tormentors, and another still faces the daily terrors of riding a school bus filled with physically and emotionally abusive bullies. These children, still so innocent at their age, are being made to grow up rather quickly, and without warrant. This Hirsch shows in-depth, just by interviewing them and showing their daily toils. Every scene is powerful, every instance of self-defense is shown as prey rising against its predator, and every child is shown love. I'll admit I even cried, and it's hard not to cry while writing this review as well. That's simply how powerful the message is. The last section of the film does meander as it tries to wrap up all the stories, and there isn't any input from the bullies themselves, but this film does show the lack of intervention of adults and lack of safeguards against these very public problems. This film is important for everyone to see, because it's not just the "weird" kids at risk, it's the helpless.
  • July 17, 2013
    An important doc focusing on an enraging matter that has always been a very serious problem in schools. Still, it could have been better edited to have those five stories put together - and after a while it even starts to become a bit redundant and repetitious.
  • March 16, 2013
    This film should be mandatory viewing for not only kids in the age group where bullying is prevalent, but EVERYONE ELSE involved or uninformed about just how emotionally wrenching it can be for the victims. Bully features 5 stories of kids who were bullied for different reasons, ... read morefrom being a "nerd" to openly gay, and a couple of the victims even committed suicide because they simply could not take it anymore. The parents, schoolteachers, police, and any other adult responsible for someone else's children are absolutely clueless to the situations and think there's no real problem, it's just "kids being kids". Their ignorance and lack of tolerance for what happens while they are in control of these kids is infuriating and sometimes mind-blowing. I could not believe how stupid some of them truly are. How did they even get a job as an assistant principal if they cannot properly handle these situations? The filmmakers give an unflinching look at how bullying effects more than just the victims and it just makes you want to get up an help in any way you can. As someone who was bullied (although not nearly as extensive as these kids), I can completely relate to this film. Even if you don't relate, its plea to take a deeper look is unwavering. If there is one complaint, it's that the film kind of makes you think there really aren't any answers to some of the situations, but there definitely always is a solution. Despite this minor complaint, Bully is a film I will push on anyone I can, and it should be shown in classrooms around the world as mandatory viewing.
  • fb840810656
    February 25, 2013
    "Bully" is an extremely well crafted and well directed film. The protagonists' stories are heartbreaking, but the film is a bit incomplete. I wish Hirsch had explored the storyline of at least one bully, but despite this hole, the film is a great watch. Grade: B
  • fb634552688
    February 20, 2013
    A much needed wake-up call that provides insight regarding the current state of bullying in the education system. Well executed and should come as a slap in the face for certain groups of people who may not have previously realized the damage that bullying is doing in the school... read more system.
  • fb100000145236770
    February 15, 2013
    "Bully" is an amazing documentary about the bullying problem here in the United States. It follows a couple kids who are bullied, a girl who brought a gun on a school bus because she was being bullied, and parents of kids who committed suicide because they were bullied. This is... read more by far one of the saddest and most important movies I've seen in a long time. This should be shown in schools, so kids can see the devastating consequences of picking on other children. I was never really bullied in school, but I remember a couple kids who were, and I wish I could go back and be friends with them or stop some of the bullying. This is a real problem in our schools and this movie really helps shine a light on it. I almost(I said almost, but I didn't) tear up a couple times during this. Some of it is so ridiculous at how bullying is handled by teachers, that it couldn't possibly be real. But it is. I think everyone should watch this, and hopefully it will help to eventually putting a stop to this.
  • January 30, 2013
    Bully is an important documentary that is truly eye opening and poignant right from the start. The issue of bullying has plagued schools kids for generations, and it is nothing new. No one deserves to be bullied and it is a problem where teenagers at times feel so helpless that t... read morehey commit suicide. This film shows the toll that many experience sue to bullying and raises important questions and awareness. The film is not without its flaws, and a lot of reviewers have pointed out that the filmmaker doesn't confront those who do the bullying. Bully exposes the toll, but leaves a lot out. Everything we've seen here, we've seen it and gone through it. I did feel anger and disgust at some of the reactions of some adults and the lack of action to prevent abuse. The films shortcomings are in the one side story of those being picked on. The film would have been much more fulfilling if Lee Hirsch would have confronted the bullies and gotten the entire portrait and gravity of the issue. We see the pain that the victims go through, but we don't see any effective action to make actual changes. However, the film tells an important story and it is a must see documentary. I expected a better documentary on the subject, as I feel this is a subject that needs to be told right. Maybe this film will spark much needed debate, and spawn another much more detailed film on the bullying issue.
  • July 21, 2012
    Some have criticized this film for failing to focus on actual bullies themselves, but in defence of that, I suggest while the origin and methodology of bullies bears scrutiny, this is not their film. The actual concept of bullying is what takes front and centre here, and its hear... read moretbreaking effect on victims and their families. Often disturbing, always have we been so blind to the suffering of children when this film makes it seem so obvious?
  • June 14, 2012
    'Bully'. Absolutely devastating. This needs to be screened in every school and seen by every parent. No one knows how bad it is.
  • April 22, 2012
    Bully definitely has an agenda, and director Lee Hirsch makes no bones about delivering on that premise, but it's an agenda that is real and that has been overlooked for far too long. To point out that the film highlights relatively isolated incidents is to completely miss the po... read moreint: if one kid kills himself as a result of bullying, it's a serious problem. This documentary is a powerful and poignant wake up call to our all-too-apathetic society.

Critic Reviews

Colin Covert
April 13, 2012
Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Bully is less a checklist plan for eliminating abusive behavior than an emotionally powerful wake-up call for a society too long in denial. Full Review

Lisa Kennedy
April 13, 2012
Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post

Bully" is smart and compassionate about the pain of its wounded subjects and the frustration felt by their parents, seemingly abandoned by the system. What the powerful film lacks is insight into bull... Full Review

J. R. Jones
April 13, 2012
J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader

Hirsch seldom gets face time with any bullies or their parents, and he tends to ignore the complicated social and psychological patterns that feed the problem. Full Review

Connie Ogle
April 13, 2012
Connie Ogle, Miami Herald

For a film that understandably only scratches the surface of its topic, Bully carries a devastating emotional punch. Full Review

Tom Long
April 13, 2012
Tom Long, Detroit News

It would have been nice if the film had reflected its title a bit more and looked at the bullies themselves - what drives one kid to torture another? Is it a reaction to home life, is it fear, is it i... Full Review

Joe Williams
April 13, 2012
Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Bully" is a good start to a necessary conversation, but its loving voice is likely to be drowned out by haters who hide their own wounded hearts behind Internet pseudonyms and broadcast microphones. Full Review

Moira MacDonald
April 12, 2012
Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times

"Bully" presents so many devastating moments that it's hard to pick the most powerful one. Full Review

Wesley Morris
April 12, 2012
Wesley Morris, Boston Globe

"Bully" doesn't need research or great filmmaking or narrative focus, per se. It needs only the shaming power of its relentlessness and a young audience open to sharing in that shame. Full Review

Rafer Guzman
April 12, 2012
Rafer Guzman, Newsday

A deeply moving but highly selective look at the effects of bullying on children and teenagers. Full Review

Michael Phillips
April 12, 2012
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

The best Hirsch's film can do, in the end, is remind us that bullying means more than we admit, and its effects aren't always immediately clear, even to loved ones. Full Review

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    • Alex Libby: I like learning, but, I just have trouble making friends.
    • Kim Lockwood: So by not shaking his hand you're just like him.
    • Kelby Johnson: I couldn't have gotten hit by, you know, something cool, like a jeep or something, I got hit by a minivan.
    • Alex Libby: I don't believe in luck, but I believe in hope.
    • Alex Libby: I'm beginning not to feel.

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Bully Trivia

  • Which movie connects Rick Moranis and Tom Arnold?  Answer »
  • In school of rock Dewey asked a student what you would say to a bully. He replied.....  Answer »
  • In which movie did Rob Schneider play a reformed bully and became a hero to "Nerds"?  Answer »
  • He starred in Bully, Apt Pupil, Sleepers, and The Jacket who am I?  Answer »

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