For the duration of my public high school experience (prior to attending The Peddie School for the second part of tenth grade through my senior year) I was reassured by my brother that I didn’t have to worry about people verbally or physically abusing me because he would take care of me. When I got to the Peddie School I did not even notice that there was any bullying.
Bullying, nevertheless, is an extremely dangerous problem that does not seem to be getting any better in the United States. There are children who fear going to school every day, looking behind their shoulder at every turn. It was therefore quite significant that the Weinstein brothers made the documentary Bully, about the problem with bullying in this country.
It was clear right away the strength of the message of this movie — how destructive bullying can be and how it can ruin lives. Naturally, the Motion Picture Association of America decided that it should be given an NC-17 rating due to the excessive (in its view) amount of usage of expletives in the movie, thereby making it nearly entirely inaccessible to the audience that would most benefit from viewing it — teenagers in high school.
Fortunately, the Weinstein brothers do not take such matters laying down and fight back they did, first threatening to release the movie without a rating at all. Then movie theaters said that they would allow parents to sign a permission slip allowing their children to see the movie. At the end of the day, sanity prevailed and with the help of a select few edits that didn’t take away from the substance of the movie, and the movie’s rating was changed to a more reasonable PG-13 — which is fine because the movie is intended for teenagers and up.
I am beyond glad that this movie was made and that it was not put into theaters with a rating that would have prevented its intended audience from seeing it. Hopefully it will have a powerful effect and diminish the terror of bullying in our country.
I couldn’t believe the MPAA gave this documentary such grief. It shows there’s little contextual compassion when it comes to getting documentaries like this out to the widest possible audiences.
Quite right! They have that very old school mentality and aren’t interested in changing it.