Dealing with bullies


BULLY. Documentary Film. Directed by Lee Hirsch. Rated M (Mature themes and coarse language). 98 mins.

Bullying is one of the harshest realities close to parents and families as they try to communicated with their bullied child. And, one of the severest consequences of bullying is child and teenage suicide.

The makers of this documentary, allied with several organisations to deal with bullying have combined for this film, given worldwide release by the usually more commercially-minded, The Weinstein Company.

Parents could find the film quite harrowing. However, the director, Lee Hirsch, has opted for a more straightforward exploration and avoided sensationalism. It is an important film for teachers and education authorities to watch. Also local police who have to deal with complaints and investigate.

While there is physical bullying in the stories told, there is far more emotional and psychological bullying. Many adults can dismiss such behaviour as boys will be boys or, that’s part of growing up. One authority states plainly that it is only physical violence that has any sway with him. He has no sympathy let alone empathy with a child who claims mental bullying. The film offers many situations where adults dismiss bullying.

There is nothing particularly new in Bully. That is not important. The film serves as a reminder of the realities of bullying and a challenge to society of how they will deal with it, especially for the sake of the children – so that the bullying will not be so bad that the child finds there is nothing else but to kill themselves.

– Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.


Bully (Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting)

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