Bully Reviews

Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
April 13, 2012
Bully is less a checklist plan for eliminating abusive behavior than an emotionally powerful wake-up call for a society too long in denial.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
April 13, 2012
Bully" is smart and compassionate about the pain of its wounded subjects and the frustration felt by their parents, seemingly abandoned by the system. What the powerful film lacks is insight into bullying.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
April 13, 2012
Hirsch seldom gets face time with any bullies or their parents, and he tends to ignore the complicated social and psychological patterns that feed the problem.
Top Critic
Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
April 13, 2012
For a film that understandably only scratches the surface of its topic, Bully carries a devastating emotional punch.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
April 13, 2012
It would have been nice if the film had reflected its title a bit more and looked at the bullies themselves - what drives one kid to torture another? Is it a reaction to home life, is it fear, is it innate awfulness?
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
April 13, 2012
"Bully" is a good start to a necessary conversation, but its loving voice is likely to be drowned out by haters who hide their own wounded hearts behind Internet pseudonyms and broadcast microphones.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
April 12, 2012
"Bully" presents so many devastating moments that it's hard to pick the most powerful one.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
April 12, 2012
"Bully" doesn't need research or great filmmaking or narrative focus, per se. It needs only the shaming power of its relentlessness and a young audience open to sharing in that shame.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
April 12, 2012
A deeply moving but highly selective look at the effects of bullying on children and teenagers.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
April 12, 2012
The best Hirsch's film can do, in the end, is remind us that bullying means more than we admit, and its effects aren't always immediately clear, even to loved ones.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Barbara VanDenburgh
Arizona Republic
April 12, 2012
Heartbreaking as these stories are, "Bully" is too narrow in scope to be anything approaching definitive. Most notably absent from the film are the bullies themselves.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
April 12, 2012
Bully doesn't offer solutions, it raises awareness, and does so remarkably well.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
April 12, 2012
We feel sympathy for the victims, and their parents or friends, but the film helplessly seems to treat bullying as a problem without a solution.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Randy Myers
San Jose Mercury News
April 11, 2012
It presents a dramatic case for creating supportive communities that will stand up to those being bullied in the world. Now the onus is on all of us to play our part in making it happen.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
April 6, 2012
Tackles this headline-heavy topic by mixing moments of raw emotional power with intervals of somewhat suspect manipulation.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
April 5, 2012
Hirsch's documentary truly shocks by the two sets of outrageous bureaucrats it exposes: one cowers on-screen, and the other hides in the offices of the MPAA, America's movie censor.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
April 5, 2012
There's no doubt 'Bully' should be required viewing in every classroom in America
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Ian Buckwalter
The Atlantic
April 1, 2012
What Bully does is offer viewers the potential to connect a growing network of like-minded people, and does so with elegant storytelling.
Full Review | Original Score: 8/10
Top Critic
Alonso Duralde
TheWrap
March 30, 2012
This is the kind of subject matter that can be enraging or moving in the hands of the right director, but Hirsch fails to connect with either the heart or the head.
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
March 30, 2012
The best social documents on film do more than show you what's wrong in the world - they make it personal. Bully does that with a passion.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
March 30, 2012
Should be considered required viewing for every parent, teacher and teenager in America.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
March 30, 2012
The access varies widely, there's far too much music telling us what to feel, and at the end its focus begins to drift. If it at least gets people talking, though, that's a good thing.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
March 30, 2012
A powerful piece of work that might make a difference if enough people see it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
March 29, 2012
An insightful and moving documentary.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
March 29, 2012
A documentary as vivid as any horror film, as heartbreaking as any Oscar-worthy drama.
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
March 29, 2012
What "Bully" says about our species is dismaying, if unsurprising ... What it says about some educators in positions of power is troubling.
Top Critic
March 29, 2012
Bully is a wrenching, potentially transformative look at an epidemic of adolescent cruelty and adult paralysis in the nation's public schools.
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
March 29, 2012
If you feel like you've already read quite a bit about the documentary "Bully," you have. But that still won't prepare you for the experience of seeing it.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
March 29, 2012
"Bully" forces you to confront not the cruelty of specific children - who have their own problems, and their good sides as well - but rather the extent to which that cruelty is embedded in our schools and therefore in our society as a whole.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Sam Adams
AV Club
March 29, 2012
Physical superiority and popularity are no longer prerequisites for grinding someone else down, which makes understanding bullying as essential as stigmatizing it. We are all bullies now.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
March 28, 2012
This is an urgent and moral movie; there shouldn't be a puritanical roadblock standing between it and its audience.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
March 28, 2012
Bully is sufficiently powerful to impact a viewer regardless of age, but this should be mandatory viewing for kids between 10 and 17.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
David Rooney
Hollywood Reporter
March 28, 2012
Focusing on the experiences of five families, filmmaker Lee Hirsch offers simple, direct and eloquent testimony supporting the need for individual and group action against bullying.
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
March 28, 2012
Lee Hirsch is certainly one who is making a difference. I endorse him and his brave, powerful movie and urge you to see it for yourself. You might leave Bully with rage, but you will not leave Bully with indifference.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
David Fear
Time Out
March 27, 2012
Suddenly, the sneaking suspicion that you've merely been watching an extended PSA for the grassroots organization (Stand for the Silent) starts to take hold.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
March 27, 2012
"Bully" is essential to see, whether you're a parent or a kid, whether you've been on the giving or receiving end of such increasingly pervasive cruelty.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Benjamin Mercer
Village Voice
March 27, 2012
It has a clear and calm approach to storytelling and some interest in the quality of its handheld images.
Top Critic
James Rocchi
MSN Movies
March 26, 2012
It is hard to not respect anything that asks us to respect the stories of the dead, and asks us how we might help the living.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
David Denby
New Yorker
March 26, 2012
[The directors] avoid charts and graphs, talking heads and sociology. Their approach is more direct and, perhaps, more effective.
Top Critic
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
March 26, 2012
Bully is repetitive and not especially artful, but children who allow themselves to see the world through the eyes of the film's victims will never be the same.
Top Critic
Ronnie Scheib
Variety
April 26, 2011
It follows, over the course of a year, five sobering case histories of unrelenting schoolyard persecution.