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Not suitable under 13, parental guidance to 15 (Violence; Disturbing themes andscenes; Coarse language)
This topic contains:
|Children under 13||Not suitable due to violence, disturbing themes and scenes and coarse language.|
|Children aged 13-15||Parental guidance due to disturbing themes and scenes|
This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.
|Name of movie:||Bully|
|Consumer advice lines:||Mature themes and coarse language|
This review of the movie contains the following information:
Bully is a documentary film that graphically depicts peer-to-peer bullying in middle schools across America. The film opens with David Long’s disturbingstory of his son Tyler’s constant bullying at the hands of his school peers which led to his suicide at the age of 17.
Bully then goes on to track the bullying and abuse endured by threeschool children over the period of a school year. Alex Libby, a 12-year-old boy in Iowa is brutally taunted and physical intimidated on a daily basis while travelling on the school bus.Alex’s victimisation becomes so serious and threatening that the film makers become fearful for his safety and break with protocol by showing the film footage to Alex’s parents, school authorities and the police.
Kelby Johnson is a 16 year-old girl in Oklahoma who is bullied and ostracised for being gay. There is also 14 year-old Ja’Maya Jackson from Mississippi who, after years of being bullied and victimised, reacted by taking a loaded gun on to her school bus and used it to threaten her tormentors. The film also depicts a second tragic suicide - that of 11 year-old Ty Smalley. We see his parents attending their son’s funeral and their participation in an anti-bullying organisation called Stand for the Silent.
The documentary illustrates how bullying is such an entrenched and complex problem that school administrators seem unable to make their schools a safe environment for students.
Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.
Bullying; suicide; violence in schools
Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.
Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.
The film contains scenes of brutal taunting, victimisation, verbal abuse, social ostracism, physical intimidation, and associated emotional trauma involving school students. Examples include:
Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.
In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of eight, including the following:
Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.
Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above scenes.
Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.
Children in this age group, particularly those who have been victims of bullying, may also be disturbed by the above mentioned violent and disturbing scenes and by the reaction of teachers. For example
Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.
Children in this age group, and some adults, are likely to be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes. This is particularly true for those who have themselves been victims of bullying.
None of concern
Bully contains occasional low-level sexual references. Examples include:
A teenage girl states that she is gay and several other teen girls say that they are straight while another girl says that she is “K-gay”.
Students say that they had been called “faggots” and “fags”.
There is some sexual activity in this movie, including:
Kelby holds another girl’s hand and we later see the two girls with their arms wrapped around each other.
None of concern.
Bully contains some explicit coarse language, putdowns and name calling. Examples include:
geek; faggot; fish face; jerk; spaz; oh my god; load of crap; I will fucking end you; fuck you up; shove a broom stick up your arse; pussy; dumb arse; I’m his bitch
Bully is a frank and hard-hitting documentary about bullying in American middle and high schools. The film profiles several victims of bullying over a one year period, exploring not only the direct impact of bullying on the victim, but also on the victim’s family and community. It is not designed to entertain but to inform, and istoo intense for younger teens and some in the older audience, particularly those who have themselves been victims of bullying. The reaction of some teachers is particularly disturbing.
The main message from this movie is that bullying is a serious problem of epidemic proportions across American schools, leading to the destruction oflives. Solving issues of bullying and protecting the victims of bullying requires a holistic approach by schools, students, parents and the general community. Parents may wish to discuss with their children whether the problem in Australian schools is of the same magnitude.
Parents may also wish to discuss the problems associated with telling children to “stand up for themselves” without any specific instructions on how to do it. Both Alex and Ja’Maya were told by their parents that they had to stand up for themselves but in neither case did the parents offer specific instructions on how their child was to achieve this very difficult task. In Ja’Maya’s case it resulted in her taking a loaded gun onto her school bus and facing the possibility of years behind bars.
Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:
Tip: Leave out the first A, An or The
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