by Neal Simpson
The movie “Bully” opened in select theaters across the country on March 20th. It opened everywhere April 13th. While it addresses some LGBT youth, its focus is much broader. It’s about bullied kids from all walks of life—picked on primarily because they were different.
I went and saw the movie last night, just over a week after it came out in San Diego, expecting a nice crowd of concerned citizens to be there with me. After all, I went to see it in Hillcrest, the trendy, hip gayborhood of San Diego. Including me and my friend Chris, there were twelve of us in the theater. Worse than that, before the movie I texted several of my friends to tell them I was going and to see who wanted to go. Not one of them even knew about the movie’s existence. Not one. I have hip friends. I have activist friends. I have friends who were bullied and who believe in and fight for the cause. Yet few of my friends have any clue what this movie is or why they should see it. This is tragic.
This movie, that profiles a number of tweens and teens as they struggle with their bullies, is a brilliant film. It’s raw, deep, and painfully real. The truly cold hearted still wipe their eyes after watching the funeral for an 11 year old boy who killed himself after being relentlessly bullied. This movie is powerful, and it addresses a subject very uncomfortable for most of us to talk about because we don’t have a good solution. It’s easy as an adult to say “kids will be kids” and “bullying makes them learn to stick up for themselves.” It’s easy, that is, until the dead kid is one you know.