Both producer Harvey Weinstein and director Lee Hirsch refused to snip a cuss word out of their new documentary, “Bully,” even if it meant the movie would hit theaters with an R rating. Altering a syllable would be artistic cowardice, and the message of the movie wouldn’t truly be heard.
After a long battle, “Bully” will expand to 55 cities April 13 with a shiny new PG:13 rating. Weinstein blinked, but the press release on the subject pretends as if the MPAA, the group which rates modern movies, actually folded:
The scene that has been at the forefront of the battle with the MPAA, the intense scene in the film that shows teen Alex Libby being bullied and harassed on a bus, has been left fully intact and unedited. BULLY director Lee Hirsch felt editing the scene was not an option, and subsequently refused to do so, since it is too important to the truth and integrity behind the film.
Later, we learn a few snips were, indeed, made to the film:
Three uses of the ‘F word’ were removed from other scenes, which ultimately persuaded the MPAA to lower the rating.
Ultimately, Weinstein scored huge amount of free publicity for the documentary, even if most media scribes didn’t dare call him on his obvious tactics.
If a few bullies rethink their actions as a result of the movie, fantastic. But it’s hard to believe that a thug who can look into someone’s tear-streaked eyes before pummeling him will be persuaded by even the most powerful documentary.