Tribeca Film Festival ’11: The Bully Project Review
Imagine going to work every day and being picked on. Someone tells you that you smell or says you look funny. They kick you or push you. Well, kids do this. They do this every day to other kids. Why? That’s another whole other story. This is about the victims. Bullying is a very serious issue that is finally getting some attention. The Bully Project follows a year in the life of five families that are affected by bullying in different ways. This is not about an incident that happened in the past, it’s about what some of these kids go through every day.
I was very astonished and surprised at the level of apathy of the people in the school system. They had no clue what was going on and didn’t seem to care. Oh, “it’s kids being kids.” Damn. Really? I specifically remember hating when we had a substitute bus driver because that meant I would get picked on. My regular bus driver didn’t stand for anything like that. The SECOND anyone got out of their seat or yelled, he’d pull that bus over. If anyone mouthed off, he’d come back to the seat and yell, then they’d have to sit in the front seat for a week. I felt protected, I knew what they did was wrong. Lots of kids don’t have that luxury. This documentary shows actual footage of a kid being pushed, choked and verbally abused. It’s shocking.
Something that the film doesn’t explore is the root of bullying. That would be another fascinating documentary. But you must choose your battles, and this one is for those who can’t speak for themselves.
Director Lee Hirsch is able to give a look inside some of today’s schools and expose this issue. The footage captured will keep you on the edge of your seat and you cannot help but be moved. Whether or not you have kids is immaterial, you were a kid once. We all were. Were you a bully?
Rating: A must see. I want to see the other side, but this is a great portrait of the victimized. 8/10