Reviewer: Roy Blumenthal,  a visual facilitator, making pictures of meetings.  He paints the things you say and works internationally.  Visit his website 

The film starts on a tight shot of a man’s face. His eyes look red and watery. He’s talking about his son as a quiet, different kid, one who had a target on his back from the start. A kid who got told by bullies
to hang himself.

BULLY is not a feel-good documentary. It also doesn’t answer any questions about how bullying can be eradicated. But it certainly raises many questions.

Here’s my suggestion about this movie.

If you’re a parent, see the film as soon as you can, with your spouse. You HAVE TO watch this movie. When you’re done, set aside an hour or two away from your kids to discuss the issues in the movie. Then come up with an action plan about what you’re going to do with your kids. Because they really need to watch this too. And you, as their parent, must have a plan of action.

Here are some of the questions your kids can ask themselves after watching BULLY.

1. Look in the mirror. Ask yourself: Am I a bully? Am I someone who gets bullied?

2. Do I know anyone who is getting bullied?

3. What can I do or say to make bullying stop?

4. What can I do or say to become someone’s hero EVERY day?

5. Who can I tell?

In my experience, bullies thrive on the power of silence. As long as people say nothing, they keep going. You can easily become a hero by simply standing up when someone is bullying another person and saying, ‘What you’re doing isn’t right. Please stop.’ This might make you the target of that bully. But not if you do it right.

Bullies like individual victims. They like loners with no friends, no support structures. Kids whose friends turn their eyes away. So, if you challenge a bully, do it WITH SOMEONE ELSE. Pair up with a friend, and vow to take action next time you see bullying happening.

The bully is often just some sort of victim too. They’re not necessarily bullying because they’re monsters. Maybe there’s something awful going on at home. So when someone says ‘Stop!’, it interrupts a system, a set of behaviours. When you say, ‘What you’re doing isn’t right,’ the bully KNOWS you’re telling the truth. When you say, ‘Please stop,’ you’re offering a way out.

All of these things are just my response to the movie. Your response will probably be different. But I guarantee you’ll have a mixed set of emotions afterwards. And your kids will have a load of  ideas on how to deal with the problems they see.

Please watch the movie. Your child’s life could depend on it.

The movie is currently on circuit at Cinema Nouveau movie houses until August 31, 2012
Click here to find out more about the Bully Project linked to this movie

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