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Parents' Guide to

Bullied (2021)

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Drama about bullying has strong violence, drinking.

Movie NR 2021 70 minutes
Bullied (2021) Poster Image

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Writer-director Angela How mistakenly claims that Bullied is a "thriller," which demonstrates an unfamiliarity with the essential ingredients of that genre. The film does attempt to address some social ills, but no single issue is examined in depth. Lots are lightly glossed over -- bullying, violence, sexual predation, child rape -- and viewers may develop whiplash as they try to keep up with the point How is trying to make. She worked with a low budget, so it is no surprise that the cast seems inexperienced.

On the other hand, the script offers the actor little to work with. For the most part, Charlotte is a largely vacant character who we hardly get to know, and what we do know paints her as unsympathetic, sullen, impatient with her little sister -- someone who rarely has anything nice to say to anyone. An abrupt change in the direction of the plot also gives us two unresolved issues, both of which could have been addressed by a more skilled screenwriter. Even when moments of resolution are attempted, the filmmaker seemingly claws them back, as when it appears that someone thanks Charlotte for her assistance. Immediately following, deliberate camerawork suggests Charlotte imagined that episode of gratitude, leaving us puzzled. Most disappointing is that there's no indication that Charlotte's repeated bad judgment leads to her understanding that she might have handled things differently or that she in any detectable way grows from her experiences. On the plus side, this is remarkably well shot, given its low budget.

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