Thanks to my friend Hannah for posting the trailer on Facebook recently. I hadn’t heard of this movie until I watched the trailer. I cried.
I finally sat down and watched it last night. What a powerful, emotional movie.
The tag line reads, in part, “based on a million true stories,” and that’s so true.
Although it’s been a few years since it was released, it’s still so sadly relevant.
As I started watching, I immediately thought of a young man named Alex, who died by suicide when he was a freshman at Oscar Smith. He was 14-years-old. He had just started the IB program. I didn’t know him at all, but I felt compelled to go to his funeral. I didn’t know his story, but I wanted to be there for his family, and the IB family.
As the movie progressed, I thought about the other people I knew who have died by suicide. Not necessarily from bullying, but other circumstances. The most poignant bullying tragedy was Nick L’Hoste. He was only 12 when he died. It sent shockwaves through our schools, and especially our church. He was only a year younger than me. It’s hard to believe he would have turned 30 this year.
This movie makes me incredibly grateful I didn’t have the access to the far reaches of the Internet when I was in high school. But, it’s still sobering. Bullying has expanded to online and offline, and it’s so sad.
The other lesson I learned is that no one should be afraid to ask for help, whether you’re the victim or the bully. It’s a bit of a contradiction, so let me explain.
When I was younger, I was taunted and teased. I wasn’t classically “bullied.” I never considered suicide as an option or a way out.
However, when I brought up instances on the school bus and in the classroom, my parents typically said, “Oh, if it’s a boy, it’s just because he likes you.” I’ve NEVER liked that phrase, nor did I believe it was true. I’m writing another blog post about that – More to come.
But that’s not my point. Kids, regardless of their age, should be able to go to their parents, or any trusted adult, with their problems and struggles. They shouldn’t be dismissed or brushed off. They need to be believed.
Also, if they don’t want to talk about it right away, that’s perfectly fine. They need to feel like they’re being heard, and that’s huge!
And, the bullies need as much help as the victims. I’m glad the movie showed both perspectives. By the end of the movie, it was painfully obvious how much Avery was dealing with, and she felt like she had no one to turn to.
I appreciate what the principal said about there being two sides to every story. That’s absolutely true.
However, bullying is still incredibly complicated! Jessica was targeted in multiple ways – In person, physical abuse, text messages, emails, social media posts, and more. It gutted me to watch it all unfold.
I cried multiple times. I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the ending, but I understand why it was framed that way. The point is the movie as a whole, not necessarily how it ends.
I applaud Amy S. Weber for making this movie. I think many more people need to see it. I was able to find it on Amazon Prime Video for free. And I will likely watch it again. It’s a good reminder to be kind, and recognize that you probably have no idea what someone is going through.
So, thank you, Hannah. You introduced me to a movie that’s left a mark on me. Thank you for inspiring me to share it.
Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂