Today’s Favorite: Bullies

I’ve just seen Ben X, which is to movies about kids and bullies what The Passion of the Christ is to movies about persecuted messiahs. I’ve also just seen Choking Man, about an immigrant who suffers mockery at work because he doesn’t speak much English.

There are very interesting parallels between the films. Both films involve the active fantasy lives of the persecuted heroes, and both central characters find hope from the very same source.

So I’m thinking about, and writing about, movies that depict youngsters who suffer from relentless bullying.

Help me out here: What are some of the most memorable films you’ve seen that deal with a young person’s suffering and response to bullying? And what did that young character do in response? Soldier on and take it? Fight back? Devise some clever revenge?

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.

  • the17pointscale

    i just saw “son of rambow,” in which the protagonist is bullied by a bullied bully…

  • Neil E. Das

    Forrest Gump, Simon Birch are two which come to mind. Do you mean movies in which Bullying is the principal theme? Because their are so many movies which involve some sort of bullying, even as a major sub-theme.

  • elbro47

    Mean Creek was the first to come to mind as well. bryan, ya beat me to it!

    Freaks and Geeks might have some good stuff, though it’s been a while since I’ve seen it, so I can’t comment on how the characters deal with the bullying.

    And don’t forget A Christmas Story!

  • bryanzug

    Mean Creek is quintessential — the scene with the boy, the girl, the slug, and the swiss army knife capture an “I am the bully” realization unlike any other fall from eden scene.

  • Jonathan

    Billy Elliot isn’t a classic bully movie, but it spoke very powerfully to me about pursuing goals passionately in the midst of adversity. No revenge or fighting back involved, just a relentless pursuit of what he loved.

  • besidethequeue

    What about the extent to which the young character’s in George Washington are bullied, in part by one another, but more importantly by their circumstances – psychological, emotional bullying, if you will.

    This may not fit your purposes though.

  • beediva

    The ones that come to mind immediately are “Carrie” (not sure she handled that one too well!), “Powder” and “Dogfight” (with River Phoenix).

  • Joseph Demme

    The first film that comes to mind is THIS IS ENGLAND, which I watched recently.