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Parents' Guide to

Bully

By Betsy Bozdech, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Powerful docu addresses critically important issue for kids.

Movie PG-13 2012 94 minutes
Bully Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 29 parent reviews

age 10+

Pause the Bullying, make the bully accountable.

Bully (2012) Is a Movie that showcases the real problem of bullying. There is some cursing and rude hand gestures. You see the picked on kids crying. Parents crying. Showing the frustration of both these kids, their parents and the schools administrators, teachers response or lack of one. Kids should watch to learn empathy. But only two parts of Bullying were shown. (1) You see the kids who are tormented to frustration even to suicide, by the constant bullying from bigger or older kids or groups of kids. The sweet kind unfortunate kids who are bullied because they're , bright, smart, gentle, quiet, new, or different. (2) It also exposes the schools' administrations biggest flaw, their apathy or indifference toward the bullying problem. Using useless cliches, "boys will be boys", "shake hands and be friends" , or telling the victims they are the problem. The school's system were just Not taking the bullying seriously. The school bus driver never stops the bus to stop the bullying kids from all hitting one child. The school bus driver never report the incident and bad kids to the principle office (Why?) (3) What bothers me is this film is that "the Bully" is never fully addressed, Nor the parents who foster and nuture these bullying mentality in their homes. They remain anonymous. Without a school's real discipline the bully walks away with a warning , off the hook to bully another. Only because it was captured on film. ( a Handshake and apology never stops a bully) So the bullying continued because they are never punished or held fully accountable. The bullies parents are never called at home nor come to the school office. Bad Kids are never expelled or kicked off the bus for bad behavior. (No kids should be afraid or feel unsafe to go to school) (No kids should be tormented by their peers) We need to Pause the Bully. Be present and an Advocate for your Child. As a Mom and a Grandma I myself had to be an advocate for my children and grandkids. I would talk to the students, the teachers and also the (parents of the bully) about their bullying. Myself I had volunteered at the school using love and kindness. Me being in the classroom or courtyard made it harder for the bullies to get away with it. And made it much harder for the teachers to pretend the bullying wasnt happening.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
1 person found this helpful.
age 2+

This title has:

Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (29 ):
Kids say (30 ):

This documentary is heartbreaking, moving, infuriating, and indisputably essential viewing for middle- and high-schoolers and their parents. It's impossible not to be affected by the stories of these tweens and teens; you'll tear up when Tyler Long's parents recount what drove their 17-year-old firstborn to suicide, and you'll want to scream at the administrator who downplays Alex's parents' concerns when they come in to talk about how to keep their son safe on his way to and from school. Particularly chilling is the story of 14-year-old Ja'Meya, who ended up brandishing a gun at her bullies when she felt pushed to the edge of her endurance. No one was hurt, but the fact that she even considered that as a response to her situation shows you just how much pain some kids are in every day.


Bully is a little bit on the slow side for teens (and it might have been a better fit for school viewing at an hour's length), but it's also extremely relevant and relatable. It's gritty, but that very grittiness is what gives it the power to hook teens in and open their eyes to what's probably going on around them every day. And that, in turn, could help convince kids that they really do have the power to make a difference.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: March 30, 2012
  • On DVD or streaming: February 12, 2013
  • Director: Lee Hirsch
  • Studio: Weinstein Co.
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Topics: High School
  • Character Strengths: Compassion , Courage , Empathy , Integrity
  • Run time: 94 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: intense thematic material, disturbing content, and some strong language -- all involving kids (initially rated R for some language)
  • Last updated: October 8, 2022

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