It’s a tricky catch-22: How do you make an honest movie about the epidemic of adolescent bullying and not have it land an “R” rating? That’s exactly what’s happened to Bully, the Weinstein Company’s documentary from director Lee Hirsch (Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony): The MPAA assigned an “R” to the film for “some language.” The ruling means the film could not be screened for students in many middle and high schools.
TWC chief Harvey Weinstein announced today that he will appeal the rating personally at a hearing on Feb. 23. He’ll be accompanied by Alex Libby, one of the bullied kids featured in the doc (and in the film’s trailer, embedded below). “I made Bully for kids to see — the bullies as well as the bullied,” Hirsch says in a statement. “To capture the stark reality of bullying, we had to capture the way kids act and speak in their everyday lives — and the fact is that kids use profanity. It is heartbreaking that the MPAA, in adhering to a strict limit on certain words, would end up keeping this film from those who need to see it most. No one could make this case more powerfully than Alex Libby, and I am so proud and honored that he is stepping forward to make a personal appeal.”
The film is due for release on March 30.