Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says OK for kids 12+
Insightful, frank look at how two kids survive bullying.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Standing Up takes a hard, earnest look at an act of cruel bullying, its aftermath, and profound effect on two vulnerable kids, ages 11 and 12. Based on The Goats, by Brock Cole, a popular and highly recommended book for kids 10-14, the film contains some scenes and situations that may be disturbing for very young or tender viewers. In addition to an initial prank where the kids are abandoned naked in the woods, the girl is later intimidated by the clumsy sexual advances of a teen bully. Also the two kids find themselves threatened by a seedy deputy sheriff, and a young boy reveals himself to be the victim of physical abuse by a parent. Still, the movie is an ideal starting point for important discussions about rejection, self-worth, empathy, and, above all, standing up for oneself.
- Parents and kids can discuss different types of bullying that they've seen at school, on the playground, at work, etc. What are the potential results of standing by and doing nothing? What are the potential results of standing up for those who are being bullied?
- Talk about some of the illegal and dishonest things that Howie and Grace had to do in order to survive. Were their actions forgivable? Why or why not?
- Camp staff members talked about the hurtful prank as a tradition. Can you think of other instances of humiliating and mean behavior that might be thought of as traditional in schools, social clubs, or the work place? Is this acceptable? If not, how would you propose ending those activities?
The good stuff
Positive messages: Told from the point of view of tweens who have been bullied, the film emphasizes efforts to regain self-confidence through positive action, to find solace in friendship, and to use even the most hurtful event as a source for growth, learning, and empathy towards others.
Positive role models: Two tweens start out as seemingly vulnerable bullying victims and over the course of the film develop and acknowledge inner strength, resourcefulness, and much to like about themselves. As means of self-preservation, they sometimes engage in questionable activities (i.e., stealing clothes, breaking into a motel room), all of which they intend to pay back at a later time. A busy mom must realign her priorities and step up for her daughter. Most summer camp personnel are portrayed as essentially clueless and irresponsible.
What to watch for
Violence: In the suspenseful opening scene, young bullies prank two terrified campers by holding them against their will and leaving them both naked in the woods. Much later at a dance, the boy rescues the girl who is being sexually harassed by another teen bully. The two kids make a frantic getaway from a sleazy deputy sheriff who appears to mean them harm; there's a chase, a scary car ride, and cliffside danger.
Sexy stuff: Some teens on a beach wear skimpy bikinis. A summer camp party shows kids slow dancing/embracing; one boy makes unwanted advances toward a 12-year-old girl, trying to kiss her and push himself on her.
Language: Almost no iffy language except "punk ass."
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs and smoking: An adult smokes a cigarette and appears intoxicated.