A documentary based on three American school
children who are currently experiencing bullying, as well as the
parents of two deceased children, who took their own lives after
being bullied in school. It became controversial when the MPAA
assigned the film an R rating and the studio decided to release it
as unrated since an R rating would prevent its target audience of
teens and pre-teens from seeing it unless accompanied by an adult.
Directed by Lee Hirsch. [1:34 - NR]
SEX/NUDITY 2 - A teenage boy threatens to sexually violate another teen boy using a broken broom handle.
► A man kisses a woman on the head.
► Several teen girls exclaim that they are straight after one teen girl tells the camera that she is gay. A teen girl says that she is "k-gay" and we later see her and another teen girl holding hands. A teen girl piggyback carries another teen girl. Two teen girls are shown with their arms wrapped around one another.
► We see a shirtless man in video clips and his bare chest and back are visible. We see a baby in a diaper with his bare back and stomach visible.
VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - On a school bus ride we see several boys tormenting another boy, including repeatedly hitting him on the head with a pencil, threatening to stab him, and punching him in the neck and back; one teen boy slams the boy's head into a seat repeatedly while berating and threatening him as another boy cheers them on, one boy is heard saying that he will shoot the other boy, another teen boy is heard threatening, "I will knock your face off" and another teen boy threatens to sexually violate the boy with a broken broom handle.
► On a school bus we hear a teen boy threaten another boy saying he will cut off the boy's face, and threatening that he will bring a knife to school in order to cut off the boy's face. A boy tells another boy that he will kick the boy, threatening to "break his Adams apple," and saying it would, "kill him."
► We see surveillance footage of a pre-teen girl on a school bus holding a gun, the girl walks down the aisle waving the gun and shouts threats at multiple people until a teen boy tackles her (we hear him shout, "I've got it" in reference to the gun). A boy swings his leg around to kick another boy, makes a threat to the boy and shouts that the boy had hit him in the nose earlier.
► A boy holds an ice pack to his head and cries while explaining to a woman that another boy had shoved him into a nail; the woman examines the boy's head and remarks, "There is no hole" and sends the boy away.
► We see the very emotional funeral procession of an 11-year-old boy, including seeing the boy's casket carried by pallbearers (one of whom is another 11-year-old), we see the visitation where a boy is shown crying as he touches the unseen dead boy (we see the lid of the open casket and the boy reaching into the casket) and the casket being lowered into the ground. A woman directs the camera into a room as she explains that her husband had found their teenage son's body hanging in the closet and that their younger son had seen his teen brother's dead body hanging in the closet after he committed suicide; the woman explains that "We forever have a picture of Tyler hanging in that closet" in reference to the trauma experienced by discovering his dead body in the closet and we hear a man (the dead boy's father) speak about how he had found his son's body after the boy committed suicide. A man and a woman visit the fresh grave of their teenage son and we see the woman cry as the man tries to comfort her.
► We hear a television reporter announce that a teen boy had killed himself and the police believe it was directly due to his experiencing bullying; we hear the overlapping audio of two reporters discussing how an 11 year-old-boy had killed himself and that is was believed to be directly caused by experiencing bullying. A teen girl narrates that she had tried to commit suicide three times and that she was formerly "a cutter" but does not explain what that entails.
► A woman confronts her son, telling him that he should not allow himself to be punched or stabbed with pencils and that the people doing so were not his friends (the boy seems completely emotionless). A pre-teen girl narrates that she had brought a gun onto a school bus in order to "scare" and "stand up for" herself in reference to a group of people who had bullied her in the past, calling her names and specifically referring to a teen boy who had threatened to beat her up. A woman narrates that her pre-teen daughter had only wanted "to scare them" in reference to the pre-teen wanting to scare other children that were bullying her, resulting in the pre-teen girl bringing a gun onto a school bus and threatening multiple children; the woman explains that she had gotten a phone call from a police officer that her daughter had taken a gun onto a school bus and threatened multiple students.
► A man narrates that a pre-teen girl was charged with 45 felonies, including kidnapping and attempted deadly assault on all of the students in a school bus; the man explains that he believes the pre-teen girl deserves to go to jail, saying that unless she was "being whipped daily" that she did not need to escalate the threats by bringing a gun onto a school bus and the pre-teen girl is seen going to court and we learn that her charges were dismissed but she must remain in a psychiatric ward until released by her doctors (the girl is later seen returning home). A boy tearfully narrates that he is bullied so much at school and on the school bus, including that a boy had sat on his head, that things were stolen from him, that he was punched and slapped repeatedly and the boy ends by saying that he wishes he could "become the bully." A teen girl narrates that she had been hit by a van driven by a group of teenage boys, who struck her purposefully because she was gay. A teen girl narrates that a teacher had taught during class that homosexuals were burned at the stake, purposefully directing the attention of the class toward the teen girl. A teen girl narrates that she had received threatening notes in her locker. A woman narrates that she knew her teenage daughter was "scared" when she had admitted that she was gay. A man narrates that his teen son had been bullied by classmates, saying they would shove the teen boy into lockers and that students had taunted him, telling him to "hang himself"; the man later explains that the boy had not been physically tormented but was emotionally tortured, including having his clothing stolen during gym and being forced to walk naked through the gym, having students assault him as he urinated, forcing him against a wall and urinating on himself and knocking his books from his desk and hands. A pre-teen boy narrates that he had been forced to "stand up" for himself (he does not go into detail about what he did) after he had experienced bullying, including being shoved into lockers and called names. A boy narrates that an 11-year-old boy had been thrown into a locker and called names. A boy tells a woman that a teen boy calls him derogatory terms for homosexuals and that it "breaks his heart."
► A boy tells a woman that she had done nothing after another boy had put his head between a seat and a cushion and then sat on the cushion and the woman dismisses the boy's accusation. A woman tells another woman that she feels like her son is unsafe riding a school bus due to the level of threats and violence he has experienced and the woman disregards the other woman's concern. A teen girl narrates that she had been told by other teens that they did not want to touch her during a basketball game because she was gay. A woman tells a crowd of people that her teenage son had missed multiple days of school per week due to bullying. A pre-teen boy tells a crowd of people that he had been bullied so severely that he understood why a teen boy took his own life as a result of bullying. During a press conference, a woman tells a police officer that two boys had beaten up her teen son but that no charges were pressed against the boys, even after she had reported the incident to the police. A woman tries to get two boys to shake hands, one of the boys tries to walk away and the woman calls after him; the boy explains that the other boy had called him names and threatened to kill him, including saying that he would shoot him with a gun and shove him into a wall (the woman disregards the boy's remarks).
► A boy tells his father that another teen boy had told the boy that he was his "bitch" and that he could do whatever he wanted, and the man tells his son that he must stand up for himself and not allow himself to become "a punching bag"; the boy explains that a teen boy had strangled him, but that he thinks the teen boy was "fooling around" and the boy's father instructs the boy to stand up for himself so that he will not set up his younger sister for bullying. A man narrates that he knew his son was going to be "victimized" from a young age. A man asks a police officer during a press conference how it was fair that bartenders could be charged with murder if someone served at their bar was in a drunk driving accident but bullies would not be charged if a person took their own life as a result of bullying. A woman jokes with her husband that she is going to punch him very hard so that their son will see the man cry.
► We watch video footage of a premature baby as a woman narrates that her son was born at 26 weeks gestation and that doctors had warned her that he would only live 24 hours but had since become a healthy 12-year-old boy.
► A boy and a girl (brother and sister) wrestle and play-fight, throwing each other against a bed and laugh as they play.
PROFANITY 6 - About 15 F-words and its derivatives, 1 implied F-word, 12 scatological terms, 6 anatomical terms, 1 mild obscenity, 8 derogatory terms for homosexuals, name-calling (geek, creepy, jerk, spaz, annoying, fish face, l-o-s-e-r, not normal, different, stupid, dumb, hot mess), exclamations (shut up), 1 religious exclamation. [profanity glossary]
SUBSTANCE USE - We see a pack of cigarettes next to a woman (no one is seen smoking).
DISCUSSION TOPICS - Bullying, violence in schools, revenge, suicide, depression, rejection, death of a child, suicide prevention, the MPAA rating system, prevention of bullying.
MESSAGE - Bullying is an extremely serious problem that parents and schools need to address.