Unrated | 3 Stars
Alex will break your heart. The Iowa middle schooler so aches to be liked that when an older boy on the school bus threatens to kill him, he doesn't appreciate the danger. As he puts it to his mother, Jackie, "If you say these people aren't my friends, then what friends do I have?"
By the time the documentarians shadowing Alex alert his parents because the threats on the bus have escalated to physical violence, it's clear just how powerful Bully is-and how flawed. The intensely painful film (being released unrated after initially receiving a controversial, ridiculous R rating) focuses on Alex, Kelby and Ja'Meya, all victims of bullying, as well as Ty and Tyler, who committed suicide after being targeted. Alex, though, is the central figure and the only one assaulted onscreen, in a scene that raises serious questions: Why didn't the filmmakers stop the attack? How do we know the presumed bullies weren't acting out for the cameras? Is Alex okay with this footage going public? According to director Lee Hirsch, he is: "Alex wanted the world to know what happens to kids who are bullied," Hirsch has said.
While the film fails to explore why kids behave so monstrously to each other, it does capture the terror and isolation of victims. It also exposes the flaws in schools ill-equipped to handle the problem, particularly in scenes with Alex's assistant principal Kim Lockwood, who fumbles chances to help tortured kids. (I do, however, understand her frustration when she all but begs, "Tell me how to fix this.") Bully may be overambitious and naive, but by turning its cameras on a shameful issue, it just might help all of us Alexes.
FOR MORE ON THE REAL-LIFE TITANIC, SEE PAGE 92
HOW TITANIC CHANGED MY LIFE
WHAT SHE WISHES SHE KNEW THEN
"I wouldn't have been so hard on myself," says Winslet, who was just 20 when she landed the role of headstrong Rose opposite Leonardo DiCaprio's Jack in the 1997 blockbuster, which is being released in 3D on April 4. "I prided myself on being smiley and uncom-plaining. And my American accent was appalling!" But the intense, waterlogged seven-month shoot "really did teach me so much," she adds. "Leo and I still say to each other, 'Nothing, nothing, nothing will ever be as hard as that was, in terms of filming.'"
HOW SHE SURVIVED INSTA-STARDOM
"I felt defiant that it would not change my life," Winslet says of the film, which earned $1.8 billion worldwide and won 11 Oscars. "I wish I had been better prepared. It was a white-knuckle ride." But she did find support in DiCaprio, then 21. Away from the cameras, "they would be propped up against each other, laughing," recalls director James Cameron. "They created a little bubble for themselves where they felt safe."
HER ODDEST MOMENT
In an early scene when Rose is about to jump ship, "the light was catching all the little hairs on my arm and Jim was like, 'We're going to have to shave your arm,'" recalls Winslet. "So we stop filming and the makeup artist has a Bic razor and some Gillette shaving foam. It was hilarious."
NOW IT CAN BE TOLD
During the lengthy water scenes, "Leo was just useless," Winslet says with a laugh. "He was like, 'I don't want to be cold anymore.' I did the looking after. He was a 21-year-old baby."
THE DEEP BLUE SEA
Rachel Weisz and War Horse's Tom Hiddleston star in the post-WWII melodrama of pampered Hester and pilot Freddie, whose love is as passionate as it is stupid. She's the wife of a judge (Simon Russell Beale) who adores her; Freddie is a cad whom we know will destroy her. Fine acting, but full of moody blues.
Only those who really like watching people get punched in the face will love Goon. Seann William Scott is Doug "The Thug" Glatt (inspired by real-life NHL player Doug Smith), a sweet dim bulb who lands on a minor league hockey team thanks to his prodigious talent for brawling. Jay Baruchel is funny as Doug's best pal Ryan, but you'll feel bruised by the closing credits.
YOU PLAY A PROTECTIVE DAD IN INTRUDERS, ABOUT A BOGEYMAN WHO HAUNTS KIDS. CAN YOU RELATE?
There's no question. It's no accident that in the last few years I've done films where being a parent is the central thing, because I've got two girls Hannah, 15, and Eve, 12
. People have said, "What scares you?" What I worry about is that my girls are okay.
IF THAT'S WHAT CONCERNS YOU, THEY'RE NOT DATING YET!
It's coming. It's the beginning. Yeeeeah. Here we go...
HOW WAS FILMING IN MADRID?
I loved it. It was nice to be close to home [London], and it's a great city. Great food. It was a very creative set, but when you come to work all they want to hear is, "Where did you eat? What did you eat? What wine did you have?" They know what's important in life.
YOU PLAY ERNEST HEMINGWAY IN AN HBO MOVIE MAY 28. HOW DID YOU PREPARE?
I went to all the places he ever drank, lived and stayed in Paris, and I went to his house in Cuba. The incredible thing is that all of his stuff is still in there: his book collection, his record collection—his clothes are in the closet. I got pretty crazy about him.