Catching up with: The Bully (2011) #Documentary

Now streaming on Netflix is the very rich, deeply layered, disturbing Bully, a 2011 documentary. I now have kids, who will soon be going into U.S. public schools, which to me look like a scary precursor of the country's overcrowded incarceration system, so the film had personal resonance. For some targets, the worst seems to be the torturous, daily bus commute full of taunts, hitting, and the hard to define act of bullying. But thanks to efforts like this film, bullying has become inexcusable.

What makes this movie so gripping is the character development -- a few of the depicted bullied are now heroic national activists, along with parents of those who tragically succumbed to the meanness and laissez-faire attitudes of our Hobbesian society. On a cinematic note, the fly on the wall, intimate access, permitted by the use of filmmaker Lee Hirsch's Canon 5d Mark II and his own personal story are what make this movie stand up and fight back extremely effectively.

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