content-wise, this documentary about bullying in american schools is pretty good, and timely. however, the style of the filming was distracting. it was shot with handheld cameras and the filmmaker constantly chooses to rack the focus as if to indicate that none of what he’s seeing makes sense. it’s either overly literal commentary on the subject matter or crappy camerawork. either way, i prefer the maysles style of documentary which is a relatively well shot fly on the wall style.
as far as the content goes, it’s an important documentary. i don’t know if bullying is better or worse than it used to be, but it’s worse than it probably should be. there’s always going to be some degree of poking fun or derision in schools – it’s part of socialization and growing up. it’s not all bad, actually, because it prepares you for the real world and nudges people to act in accordance with certain social norms. however, this kind of socialization should be used to keep kids from eating a third burrito for lunch or crapping on the floor, not from acting gay or being interested in comic books.
the kids who do the bullying are to blame, sure, but the parents and administrators are the real problem. why they don’t have the common sense and moral standing to do something real about these problems is beyond me. maybe they don’t want to get sued for yelling at a bully for being an asshole. or maybe they just don’t give a shit anymore.Watched in theater