October is Bullying Prevention Month, so now is a great time to have (another) conversation with your kids about bullying. We've compiled a list of movies to help foster that discussion. As parents, aunts, uncles, teachers, and friends, we CAN make a difference in the lives of all the children around us.
About a Boy • PG-13 Marcus is both avoided and teased by his classmates for his peculiarity. He befriends Will, an immature self-centered man who lets him use his apartment as a sanctuary from the bullies. Initially, Will encourages Marcus to try to fit in. In the end, however, Marcus teaches Will how to love another, be unique, and still find happiness.
The Ant Bully • PG Lucas Nickle has just moved to a new town, hasn't made any friends yet, and is feeling ignored by his family. After a local bully picks on him, he goes looking for someone he can push around and floods an ant colony with his water gun. A wizard ant magically shrinks Lucas to insect size, and he develops compassion and forms friendships while living among the ants.
Back to the Future • PG When Marty McFly travels back in time to his parents' teen years, he discovers that his father had been doing Biff's homework to avoid getting punched. But when Biff tries to force himself on Lorraine, George's crush, George finally stands up to him, putting an end to the bullying.
Bully • PG-13 Filmed over the course of the 2009-10 school year, this documentary offers an intimate, unflinching look at how bullying has affected five kids and their families. It documents the responses of teachers and administrators and a growing movement among parents and youths to change how bullying is handled in schools, in communities, and in society as a whole.
The Equation of Life • NR Written and produced by a 10-year-old, this 40-minute movie is a dramatization of a real-life experience from someone who's been there and, because of that, it is all the more poignant. It explores the experiences of bullying from both sides — the bullied and the bully — and offers practical suggestions for change.
A Girl Like Her • PG-13 Sophomore year has been a nightmare for Jessica Burns, who has been relentlessly harassed by her former friend Avery Keller, one of South Brookdale High's most popular and beautiful students. But when a shocking event changes both of their lives, a documentary film crew, a hidden digital camera, and the attention of a reeling community begin to reveal the powerful truth about ... a girl like her.
Harry Potter series • PG/PG-13 Harry is neglected by his aunt and uncle and mistreated by his cousin. When he arrives at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he is teased and picked on by several other students. Eventually, with the help of a couple of close friends and a few kind and loving adults, he learns to believe in himself.
The Karate Kid • PG A teenage boy moves to a new town and is bullied by a group of kids who study martial arts. He convinces a martial arts master to teach him karate so he can defend himself against their aggression. (Editor's Note: The link is to the 2010 remake starring Jaden Smith, but I personally prefer the 1984 classic.)
Mean Girls • PG-13 Cady enters public school for the first time in high school. Everything she thought she knew about the world is thrown upside down as she tries to navigate her way through girl-group dynamics. It's a hilarious look at how the desire to be popular can quickly transform the outsider into the bully. (Inspired by the book Queen Bees & Wannabes, a must-read for parents and teen girls. Masterminds & Wingmen by the same author is a great one for boys and their parents.)
Toy Story 3 • G Lotso the Teddy Bear, the bully of Sunnyside Day Care, sets up a hierarchical structure that creates division among the toys. Woody, Buzz, and the whole gang have to work together to plan their escape. Ultimately, we learn that Lotso behaves so poorly because he was once abandoned (unintentionally) by his owner.
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