WHILE EVERY TWEEN and teenager in America really should see Bully, the emotional documentary is even more so required viewing for adults, as it's the grown-ups in the film who end up looking completely awful.
Throughout Bully, while kids are shown suffering at the hands of their asshole peers, the most frustrating sight is watching how their teachers, assistant principals, and in some cases parents respond to the situation. "Kids will be kids," they say. That's hardly comforting when asking for help for your gay daughter, who has attempted suicide three times.
When the parents of 12-year-old Alex find out about the physical and emotional abuse their son endures every day (being punched, kicked, and strangled on the bus), they approach the school's assistant principal, who not only claims that the children on that bus route are as "good as gold," but then interrupts the serious meeting to show off photos of her newborn grandchild. "THEY ARE NOT THERE TO SEE YOUR FUCKING BABY PICTURES," you'll want to scream at the screen.
While moments of the film will make you cry (specifically the scene where a mother shows you the closet where her son hanged himself), the most memorable scenes are the ones that will turn your insides into a ball of rage. I went in expecting to sob, to be filled with sympathy for the kids and guilt over not being able to help—I walked out wanting to kick the system's ass. That's the best response the filmmakers could hope for. That's the response that ignites change.