Bully

First Hit:  Punches you right in the heart – this was a powerful film.

I remember quite clearly when I first saw the promo for this film, I slipped into thinking about the guy who use to punch me in the stomach when I would ride my bike home from the Alta Dena Dairy with a half-gallon of milk in my basket.

He’d threaten to break the bottle of milk I was bringing home to my mom, but instead would punch me in the stomach. It was, in my mind, as if he spent his whole life sitting in wait for me to go to the dairy for milk, because whenever I was riding back, he would run out from behind a tree or maybe a clump of bushes or the side of a house and grab the seat of my bike to stop me.

Then, walking around to the front of the bike, threaten to break my precious cargo. While pleading with him to stop and let me go, he would haul off and punch me in the stomach and run off. I hated that guy. In Bully you see real bullies picking on innocent kids. It is about power, being dominant over someone else, and being seen as powerful.

The film focuses on a few select kids who are taunted, hit or pushed around. The filmmakers speak with the kids and their parents and the story is real and very sad. We follow them through school or view (in the case of Ja’Maya) a video of horrific moments in their lives.

I cried often for these kids during this film and my heart sank over and over again. Kids can be cruel, I recalled times when I was cruel to other kids in school and although I wasn’t cruel to these extremes I also knew I did it to feel empowered, just like the guy who use to hit me when I was 8 and 9 years old.

This film is a start at bringing awareness to a serious subject. I suspect what we witness are symptoms of our society. As a country and a people we need to better understand our country’s behavior and how we act and are perceived in the world. How can we stop bullying in our schools if we continue to bully nations? Under the guise of being benevolent and right, we threaten other countries with sanctions and what not, while carrying around an arsenal of nuclear bombs large enough to blow up our planet or any other country many times over.

We are a bully country and it is no wonder to me that we breed bullies.

To Alex, Ja’Maya, Kelby, David and Tina Long, and Kirk Smalley, thank you for letting a camera bring this to a wider light. Lee Hirsch directed this film and did a wonderful job of letting the camera roll.

Overall: This film is definitely worth seeing if you are interested in something that is taking place in our schools.