Earnest and stubbornly real, Bully
doesn't flinch from showing the torture faced by children every day. Director Lee Hirsch follows five American families and shows the bullying their children experience. Young Alex is punched, stabbed with pencils, threatened with death, and takes it all with a haunting, hollow look in his eyes. It's hard to know how obtrusive the cameras were; clearly his tormentors feared no reprisal. But it’s the administrators and school boards who end up the villains of the documentary. Their politically neutral responses to student conflict help no one and infuriate parents. A child can end their life, and still a principal won't admit to any bullying problems in their school. Sadly, Hirsch doesn't spend much time determining why these administrators don't act on bullying, nor does he investigate the bullies themselves. There aren't any answers up on the screen, but the problem is vivid and hard to shake.