A new documentary called Bully caused controversy when it was rated R for language and some of Hollywood's biggest stars cried foul. Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp were among a half-million people who signed a petition arguing Bully deserved a less restrictive rating so kids could see it. Then came word of a compromise. The film was released today without any rating.
I am going to urge everyone to seek out what might well be the most important movie you will see this year. Parents of middle schoolers, in particular, should consider going to see it with their kids.
The cruelty of the kids will make you cry. The response of the adults will make you mad. Those in charge at school say "boys will be boys" and "kids will be kids." What's cruel is their indifference and "Bully" begins by reminding us that tragedy can result.
"He had had his face shoved into a wall locker. Some kids had told him to go hang his-self, that he was worthless. And, I think he got to the point where enough was enough," Tyler's dad said.
The silence of Tyler's dad speaks louder than his words when it comes to the suicide of his son.
"I still think he's going to come through that door and I know he's not," he said.
The plight of parents and their children will make your heart break. 13 million children are bullied every year, some of them like Kelby for being gay.
"And everyone was laughing. And they knew it was hurting me. And they kept on going," Kelby said.
Eloquent as these individual stories may be, the film isn't content to just to throw a spotlight on what has become a big problem. Bully also suggests ways each one us can be part of the solution.
Bully is that rare film which could actually make a difference if parents and children watch it together. The film challenges all of us to find new truth in the old saying - "if you want to better the world, start with yourself.
This could be one of the most important films you will see this year and one of the best. This documentary may not be light entertainment, but it is riveting. Bully is never boring. And the discussion between parents and their kids that follows will be even more interesting! Parents of middle-schoolers in particular should not miss this one.