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What to know: Timely film, showing good prevailing over evil.
BIRTHDAY BULLY, THE is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
Recommended age 5-15
9 minutes
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This timely film very nicely shows how good usually prevails over evil. The whole issue of peer pressure among young teens is brought to light. A crowd of students at first hovers around Allie because she acts cool and has a superior-to-thou attitude. But soon enough, this entourage of kids realizes that Allie is a backstabber and a bully towards them all, and they all end up supporting the new girl at school, Mia. Allie is an overly arrogant young girl who quickly passes judgment on a new arrival at her school. She's quite the game-player, knowing how to manipulate her gang of followers into thinking and acting according to her biases. Both moms in the film, Molly and Claire, display some good parenting skills in taming Allie's bullying behavior. In the end, Mia's innocence and pleasant personality wins over the hearts of Allie's former friends. I truly cheered for the underdog and was happy to see the bratty bully lose the support of her peers. Allie (Kennedy Jordan) is a very convincing bully. She has a gnarly attitude and smirky facial expressions that make her a true intimidator. It is fun watching her supposed homeys stand up to her tyrannical rule in the school cafeteria, after the party. Donavon Thompson does some interesting film editing when he focuses in on a snarling, unpleasant Allie, using a black border around her face (5:58 time stamp). This effect singles her out as the dark villain. My favorite scene is when Allie's mom calls her daughter on the carpet during her party and then proceeds to call Mia's mom. The exasperation and look of "I'm losing control" on Allie's face is priceless and the beginning of Allie's getting her "just desserts." The film is well produced with excellent camera work and audio recording. Lighting and editing are very good. I like the cut-aways that appear to be shot on a cell phone. Sets and costumes are very suitable. The cast seem to all be pretty upper middle class kids. The talent is all very believable from the moms to the kids. Kudos to the director for delivering a well made film. Any film festival would be happy to show this. The movie conveys a powerful message that "bullying does not pay." It shows the important difference between yielding to peer pressure versus generating peer support. It also mentions the various ways that bullying can manifest its ugly head - face-to-face, through behind-the-scenes rumors, online through social media and others. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 15. Reviewed by Jeff M., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
When a young girl is bullied at school, she finds strength in the most unexpected places and learns that it only takes one.
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