The new documentary “Bully” takes you straight back to school days–and they’re still every bit as awful as you might remember.
Here once again are the cool kids, the pretty people, the jocks; and over there, the loners and the losers on whom they often prey. This wretched divide may fade in memory the farther away we get from our own school years, but “Bully” brings it back–from the loners’ and the losers’ point of view this time–with a harrowing power.
One of the miserable kids we meet is Alex, who’s 12 years old and just starting middle school in Sioux City, Iowa. Alex is a classic misfit: the lost look, the awkward manner, the glasses. He has been bullied by other kids all his life. Because of his prominent fleshy lips, they call him “fish face.” They steal his clothes when he’s in the gym shower room. They push him around, slam his head into walls, sometimes cheerily throttle him.
On the bus to school they reach over across the aisle and start punching him to pass the time. (The days when school-bus drivers would put a stop to this sort of thing are apparently long gone.) In the cafeteria, out in the schoolyard, Alex is always alone. He has tried to convince himself that his tormentors are just “messing around.” After all, he says to his heartbroken mother, “If these people aren’t my friends, then what friends do I have?”
Read the full review at Reason.com.