Film Clip: Bully

Rated 3.0

Director Lee Hirsch’s well-intentioned documentary soberly depicts the emotional toll of bullying in the lives of five American families. It’s utterly heart-wrenching stuff, but only superficial in structure and in rigor, short on revelation, and tailored to an already wised-up audience that won’t get much from it beyond validated indignation, although that is something. (Also, some jittery focus distracts from otherwise usefully intimate digital cinematography.) What’s saddest, but again no revelation, is the sense of bullied kids being let down by the adults in their lives, including parents, school administrators, and, come to think of it, crusading documentary-makers too. There is some hope to think that if they can make it through (and not all of them can), these brave young souls might themselves one day improve our lousy pseudo-grown-up-addled world.