The film is a documentary about real bullied kids. So, naturally, it has some scenes of, well, real bullying. The MPAA deemed this too intense for kids and stamped the film with an R rating, angering lots of people. Salon's Andrew O'Hehir called the ratings organization "reactionary," out of touch, and essentially, a bully, by "favoring the strong against the weak, further marginalizing the marginalized, and enforcing a version of 'family values' that has all sorts of unspoken stereotypes about gender and sexuality and race and other things baked into it." He added, "The MPAA has sided with the bullies and creeps."
A long list of celebrities have been promoting the movie on Twitter. Below are just a few:
Ellen also had two parents from the documentary on her show. And theaters are showing their support too. Rather than accept the R rating, "Bully" producer Harvey Weinstein decided to release the movie unrated, which could have made theaters shy away from releasing it. Instead, AMC theaters are embracing the film. They've launched a dedicated website just for "Bully," which offers a special permission slip for viewers under 17. The website says, "AMC Theatres believes people of all ages can benefit from the message of this film. That’s why we are allowing all guests to experience the version of this film that is not rated."
What's with this outpouring of support? Are people in Hollywood and the media just really committed to stopping bullying? Well, maybe — but I'm willing to bet that Weinstein's clout has a lot to do with it. Without his muscle, an independent documentary full of unknowns probably wouldn't have AMC bending over backwards for it. Like a high school popularity contest, the world of movie promotion is all about power.
What do you think? Are you going to see "Bully"?