If you’ve been following the ratings drama behind the heralded bullying documentary “Bully,” you’ll be glad that Atlanta is one of the cities getting the director’s cut without the MPAA’s blessing. Catch up and watch the trailer.
Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch offers an unflinching look at how bullying has touched five kids and their families. It also documents the responses of teachers and administrators, as well as an effort by parents and activists to stop in-school aggression on gay students and anyone perceived as “different.”
So what’s all the hubbub? Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein has been fighting tooth and nail to have the MPAA’s R rating changed to PG-13 so that it can be shown in schools as well as theaters. A ratings appeal was denied this week – by one vote. Read the blow-by-blow timeline of the ratings fight.
The ratings board worries about the frank discussions of violence and suicides, but mostly about super-breif profanity used by teens in real-life ordeals. One kid tells another he’ll “shove a broomstick up your ass” and “cut your face off and shit.” You know, stuff the movie’s target audience hears every day. Common Sense Media details the film’s “controversial” content.
Producers may take the option of editing the film to get the PG-13, but they also decided to release it without a rating in protest of the MPAA decision. It opens Friday in Los Angeles and New York, and Landmark Theatres opens it at Atlanta’s Midtown Art Cinema on April 13.
UPDATE APRIL 6: MPAA gives “Bully” a PG-13 Rating with crucial scene in tact.
Meanwhile, the director talks at the red carpet premiere about celebrity support and why releasing the unrated version is “the right thing to do”: