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Bully - Film Review

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by Richard Leathem (subscribe)
Freelance writer. Melbourne based cinephile. Fond of food.
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If proponents for home schooling needed an advertisment for their cause, they need look no further than Bully. And while home schooling may not provide lessons in social interaction, at least you know your kids aren't going to be driven to suicide through daily persecution.

Bully focusses on a handful of individuals who are victimised by their peers, whether it be because of their physical appearance, their sexual orientation or simply a perceived weakness in their character. As despairing as it is to see the basic lack of respect and compassion they receive from their classmates, the real jaw dropper is the way some of the adults behave. One school principal in particular is so ineffectual and clueless, it beggars belief how she got to hold such a position of responsibility.

As a piece of filmmaking, this doco isn't likely to win any awards for technical achievement. What Bully has going for it is that it tackles a hot button issue, and gives the victims and their parents the chance to tell their painful stories.

For me, most of what the film has to say about the ramifications of bullying, how communities are failing to deal with it and what needs to be done, is tackled pretty comprehensively in the first half. After that there's a fair bit of repetition and the call to alms in the final scenes doesn't have the urgency and sense of purpose warranted, especially given the courage shown by the victims who have shared their agonising experiences with us.

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Why? Confronting doco about a hot button issue.
Where: At selected cinemas everywhere
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