I remember watching The Cove and being transported from a world where you didn’t really care about the topic, to a world where you could stand up and fight for the cause. For me, Bully doesn’t hold the same fire and passion for its topic like The Cove, and wouldn’t motivate you to stand up and fight. Bully has a noble cause, definitely, tracking the story of a few youths who find themselves in terrible circumstances. Notably, is the story of Tyler, who is really the catalyst for this movement, as he committed suicide after he couldn’t take being bullied any longer. The kids in the film are all weak, and need a voice, and director Lee Hirsch believes he is that voice.
Bully is mostly told through spoken conversation, and not through the violent images of kids actually being bullied. As terrible as it might be for me to say this, the film lacks the punch of watching one of these kids actually being beat up. Every confrontation seems more like the start of something bigger. There are fights posted on youtube all the time, and yet Lee Hirsch couldn’t grab any of his kids being pummeled into the ground. That kind of footage could have been gamechanging. Instead, it’s all crying, and feeling sorry for kids, and heeding warnings. It seems to just continue to go around in circles as all the kids stories are relatively similar. It might have been nice to talk to a bully and find out what’s going on in their life. I’ve always heard that often times bullies are getting bullied at home, which could have been a nice parallel.
Bully feels more like the documentary that could have been. It’s a blueprint for something bigger. Considering all the hype that Bully had, around the unrated version, etc., it turns out it was all for nothing. Except ticket sales. 3.6 million.
FINAL GRADE: C-