A mother's experience: A dinner conversation transformed her son's approach to borderline teen bullying – imagine what the movie "Bully" could do. She'll take her child to "Bully" for sure.
The Weinstein Company/AP
The much-hyped movie “Bully” opens today and last week I was thinking: I must take my kids to see that. My next thought was: Maybe I shouldn’t take my kids to see that? This ambivalence comes from knowing it’s an intense movie – two of the five stories in the film are about children who killed themselves because of the relentless bullying they received.
“Bully” was originally rated R because of profanity, but The Weinstein Company challenged the MPAA over the rating and got it changed to PG-13. Like most parents, I’m also wondering if – even as a PG-13 movie – it will be too disturbing for my two teens. Or is it just the kind of thing they need to see?
Richard Corliss wrote in Time Magazine before the rating changed “… if kids want to see a life-changing film, they should sneak in.” Sean O’Connell, who blogs about movies for the ticketing website Fandango, wrote a review that lobbies for watching this movie with your child and carving out time to talk about it. Much of the media coverage has urged parents not to let their kids see it alone.
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And I have to admit, I’m worried the movie will be too intense for me, too. Mr. O’Connell calls it “a horror movie for parents.” In his heartfelt review he writes that he “prepared himself for the worst” and “still wasn’t ready.” It’s always difficult and disturbing to watch children suffering, and to watch the agony their parents endure. O’Connell tells us that at the end of “Bully,” Director Lee Hirsch shows footage to the parents of bullied pre-teen Alex “so they can understand what their precious son endures on a daily basis. Alex’s concerned mom asks her son if what these kids are doing to him makes him feel good. ‘I’m starting to think I don’t feel anything anymore,’ Alex responds, and my heart rips in two.”