msnbc | March 31, 2012
>>> the new "bully" movie came out last night in controversy over its rating. it's about the struggle of five families in four states dealing with bullying. it has heartbreaking profiles of children abused by other children. here's a clip.
>> i opened my locker, there was a note that said, [ bleep ] aren't welcome here. the teacher was calling roll and said, boys, and then said girls, and then paused and said, kilby. and another teacher told me how they burned fat [ bleep ] and kept talking about it with me in the classroom.
>> i'm joined by a film critic for "the new york times." tony, good morning.
>> good morning.
>> you describe this as moving. there's an emotional connection that will be garnered by many by this film. why is that?
>> just listening to these children and in some cases their parents talk about what they have endured at the hands of their fellow students. which is, you know, in some of the cases, sound a bit extreme, but a lot of it will be familiar to anyone who has been through school. i mean, it is heartbreaking. two of the families have lost their children. children that have committed suicide as a result of the bullying. and you also -- it's very moving because you really feel, and i think this is the point of the movie, you feel the failure of, in particular, the schools and the institutions and the adults to address this problem and listen to these kids.
>> while i have not seen the film, reading your article about it, i got so angry about the assistant principal who thought she was doing a good job, and you call her out twice, at least.
>> you always feel in a documentary some sympathy and admiration for people signing the release and are willing to be the villain and the person who everyone when they see the scenes or for the mishandling of these incidents.
>> . well intended, though.
>> well intended. everyone no works in the school does so because they care about the children, but this is one of those cases where a lot of what we are now starting to think of as a real kind of systemic and social problem is something we have been thinking about for many generations as just normal, this is what kids do. this is just how it is. and a lot of the kids who are the victims of this feel that much more isolated and unprotected because of that attitude. just work it out among yourselves. oh, he was just playing. oh, you know, just -- you know, you'll grow out of it.
>> just playing doesn't go to suicide. that's a huge leap.
>> and there has to be -- i think this movie is part of a new attention and almost a movement to get schools and parents and responsible adults to focus on this and to figure out how to solve the problem.
>> tony, if that's the case, one would presume you want parents, teachers and kids to see this. but all the controversy over the "r" rating versus lack thereof.
>> it's been released up rated because the company appeals to the ratings board to get the "r" rating changed to pg-13.
>> why is that, because of the bad language ?
>> the language, you heard a couple words beeped out there. there's a little bit of language, nothing 12 and 13-year-olds haven't hurt. there's upsetting content. on the other hand, everyone, all the kids if the world can see "the hunger games" and that's a pg-13. the case of the well-intentioned -- i'm not against ratings or the rating system, but i think they tend to be very inflexible and very -- they count swear words , they sort of look at content and isolation and don't think about the context or the impact. this is absolutely a movie that i think is really aimed toward kids. it works on the emotional level that middle schoolchildren or high school children are operating at. it is very emotionally powerful. it has a of impact. in a way that i think is very deliberately geared to the way that kids experience and respond to these things.
>> it sounds like a powerful film. i'm glad you told them to release this without a rating. we need more people to see it.
>> i hope so.
>> tony scott , thank you so