“Bully” bravely address pubescent tormentors, ten and eleven- year -olds torturing their peers, ultimately, in some cases driving them to suicide. This is an epidemic of epic proportions; a disease that kills, maims permanently its victims and perpetrators. Why? How do we find the root of this groundless cruelty? What toxin to kill the source and fertilize a healthy remedy?
“Bully” paints the portraits of anguished and dead children plus the ruination of their families. Monumental issues and only vague answers as to why: teachers, bus drivers, parents and even the young victims are powerless to curb the insidious scourge that has blanketed, blackened the universe.
Director Lee Hirsch concentrates on Alex Libby of Sioux City, Iowa, the eldest of five, targeted by his school -mates, pounded daily with verbal and physical abuse, isolated because of his foreignness; has being “different” always warranted brutality, ostracism , isolation? Is this an inherited trait or learned attribute? It is sickening watching what Alex and other children who do not fit the mold of “cool” or “popular” have to suffer; more horrific: the Pavlovian response of birthing eventual “bullies” from the bullied.
This is an eye-opening documentary that I fear will fade quickly with movie audiences. Hirsch focuses on five children from primarily rural environments; the single flaw, avoiding the urban areas where sophisticated bullies thrive; monsters of mean, intelligent beasts praying physically, psychologically, emotionally on those whose fortress lack the strength to combat the onslaught of evil. We read daily about the atrocities, many accomplished through the internet, “a weapon of mass destruction”, visited upon the innocent.
“Bully” does offer a ray of hope, a grass roots organization striving to give a voice to the “silent”; those who chose death to escape cancerous, demonic disciples; choosing the peace, solitude of the unknown, over the agony of reality.
A miniscule step in a pandemic that has raged throughout history.