Movie review: The Bully Project

by Dorthea

The Bully Project is a documentary created by Lee Hirsch where we follow five kids and their families over the course of a school year. We get to meet fourteen-year-old Alex who is trying not to think about what might happen when he return to 7th grade after the summer and we learn how he for years has been punched, choked, sat on, have things stolen from him, and called names. We met Kelby who after she came out as gay have been sexually assaulted by a group of football players, beat up by boys in between classes and run down by a carful of classmates – puncturing the windshield with her head. We meet Ja’Meya who got picked on every morning and afternoon on her hour-long bus ride and finally had enough. She brought out a gun she found in her mum’s closet and were arrested and charged with 45 felony accounts. We meet the Longs family who lost their son Tyler and who are trying to win justice from the school who failed him so miserably. We meet the Smalleys who lost their eleven-year-old son Ty to suicide due to bullying. His suicide has inspired his family to try the best they can to prevent bullying in his honor by creating the organization “Stand for the silent”.

Bullying has for years been a problem and in later years it has expanded to also include cyber bullying. It has been the struggle of many kids worldwide and the headache of tons of parents and teachers. The movie evokes many feelings. It made me angry seeing how nobody intervened when these kids were going through hell. It made me disappointed noticing that nobody stepped up for these kids. All the ones who knew this were going on and never lifted a finger in order to make it stop, but rather stand there and watch. It made me cry to see what these kids and families go through. It made me amazed to see the strength of the parents who lost their children to suicide managed to go on with their lives, questioning the school system and arranging memorials around the country. It made me so proud to see how Kelby wants stand up to her tormentors and graduate with honors. It made me believe when Ty’s father said “I’ll fight bullying wherever it’s found. Schools. Workplace. I’m not going to quit until bullying does.”

The movie examines the consequences of bullying and helps us have a deeper understanding of what these kids go through. All the kids we meet in this movie are normal kids that have been targeted out by a bully as their victim. They’re beautiful kids with a good heart and qualities to enrich their surroundings. This is a very important movie and it is a helpful tool to receive answers about what really goes on in the school yard, at the school bus or in the home of a bullied child. We get an intimate glimpse into these families’ lives, their homes, their relationships and the society around them. We get an unusual insight through these stories into the cruel world of bullied children. By seeing how the teachers, parents, children and society struggle to find a solution to the growing problem of bullying in today’s society, we get a richer understanding of the problem through watching this documentary. We get to know these brave kids who suffer every day.

Read more about the project at thebullyproject.com and find out how you can help.
Please also check out hpu.hiff.org to see what my peers is up to during HIFF.

I stand for the silent. Do you?