I’ve yet to see Bully, director Lee Hirsch’s documentary zeroing in on an issue that probably hits close to home for a lot of people. From everything I’ve heard, this is a doc that illuminates the inhumane despair caused by bullying, and just where that despair can lead a child. After failing to garner a desired PG-13 rating from the MPAA, the Weinstein Co. now feels that the film should be distributed as is – without pulling any punches. To that effect, the film will be unrated when it hits theaters this March 30th:
March 26, 2012 – New York, NY – After a recent plea to the MPAA by BULLY teen Alex Libby and The Weinstein Company (TWC) Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein failed – by one vote – to get the film its deserved PG-13 rating, TWC is choosing to move forward with releasing the film unrated by the MPAA on March 30.
Furthering proof that the R rating for some language is inappropriate for a film that’s meant to educate and help parents, teachers, school officials and children with what’s become an epidemic in schools around the country, the fight against the rating continues on. The outpour of support by politicians, schools, parents, celebrities and activists for the film’s mission to be seen by those it was made for – children – has been overwhelming. Nearly half a million people have signed Michigan high school student and former bullying victim Katy Butler’s petition on Change.org to urge the MPAA to lower the rating.
Say what you will about winning one for the little guy or sticking it to the MPAA, but this is shrewd marketing strategy by the Weinsteins. And it’s damn smart. Releasing Bully sans rating hits that sweet spot, right between educational and taboo, that even the best publicity can’t buy.*
This is already a film the pundits are starting to champion. Hopefully those who see the film will be able to engage in a measured, healthy discourse about how to approach this epidemic. Then again, people will probably just sit by as assholes like Geraldo Rivera fuck it up like they always do.
*On second thought, this is the best publicity.