Bully Documentary Given R Rating, Can’t Be Used To Educate High Schoolers

It’s one thing to get an R rating for some gratuitous shots of Fassbender’s shapely rump and sizable dong. It’s another thing to get an R rating when your a crucial part of your intended audience is high schoolers.

So that’s why it’s a damned shame that Bully has gotten an R rating instead of PG-13, limiting its ability to be shown in schools nationwide. The harrowing Weinstein Company-produced documentary details the dangers of bullying and its tragic playmate, teen suicide. Bully features intimate interviews with parents of children who have taken their lives, as well as with children who are experiencing bullying at school themselves.

Apparently the MPAA gave the film an R rating because of strong language used by children in the film.

Weinstein said in a statement:

“I have been through many of these appeals, but this one vote loss is a huge blow to me personally. Alex Libby gave an impassioned plea and eloquently defended the need for kids to be able to see this movie on their own, not with their parents, because that is the only way to truly make a change.

“With school-age children of my own, I know this is a crucial issue and school districts across the U.S. have responded in kind. The Cincinnati school district signed on to bus 40,000 of their students to the movie—but because the appeals board retained the R rating, the school district will have to cancel those plans.

“I personally am going to ask celebrities and personalities worldwide, from Lady Gaga (who has a foundation of her own) to the Duchess of Cambridge (who was a victim of bullying and donated wedding proceeds) to First Lady Michelle Obama (whose foundation has reached out to us as well), to take a stand with me in eradicating bullying and getting the youth into see this movie without restriction.”

Watch the moving trailer for the doc:

For their part, the MPAA issued the following statement:

“Bullying is a serious issue and is a subject that parents should discuss with their children. The MPAA agrees with the Weinstein Company that Bully can serve as a vehicle for such important discussions.

“The MPAA also has the responsibility, however, to acknowledge and represent the strong feedback from parents throughout the country who want to be informed about content in movies, including language.

“The rating and rating descriptor of ‘some language,’ indicate to parents that this movie contains certain language. With that, some parents may choose to take their kids to this movie and others may not, but it is their choice and not ours to make for them.”

Photo via The Weinstein Company