Family Movie Night Tackles Bullying

As with all good football movies, it’s the storyline off the field and not the action on it that typically makes or breaks the film. Field of Vision, the latest in the Family Movie Night series presented by Walmart and Procter & Gamble, is a high school football drama whose back-story tackles a very serious issue — bullying — a topic that has received significant interest from the media recently. The movie premieres June 11 at 8/7c on NBC. Set the DVR now!

The Synopsis:

Through mysterious footage captured on an old video camera, star quarterback Tyler McFarland learns that some of his teammates have been bullying the new transfer student, Cory Walker. Aware that standing up for Cory might get his friends kicked off the team and cost the school the state championship, Tyler must choose between winning and doing what is right.

So what’s the big deal with bullying, anyway . . . it’s all just sticks and stones, right? Not according to a recent national study that shows half of those high schoolers who were surveyed admitted to bullying other students in the past year. 47% of respondents say they were bullied, teased, or taunted in a way that was seriously upsetting. The 2010 study, conducted by the Josephson Institute of Ethics, surveyed 43,321 high school students nationwide — the largest study of its kind. It also found that 33% of all students say that violence is a big problem at their school, and 24% of students say they do not feel safe there.

The topic of bullying is indeed relevant for our time. Kudos to Family Movie Night for addressing the subject and creating a captivating family drama that can serve as a conversation starter for families. Courage, discernment, accountability, and looking out for others also figure prominently in the movie.

The movie stars Faith Ford (Murphy Brown, Hope & Faith), Philip Casnoff, L. Warren Young (The Blind Side, We Are Marshall), and three outstanding young actors: Alyssa Jordan Shafer, Tony Oller, and Joseph Adler. I found the movie to be well-written; the diversity of characters wasn’t forced, the story flowed naturally, and the performances were excellent. Accompanying the cast is a fantastic soundtrack that added a deeper dimension to the drama unfolding in the movie. Fans of contemporary Christian music will recognize several songs from The Afters, an up-and-coming Christian rock band touring with Casting Crowns this fall. There is also a science-fiction element to the movie and at first I was suspect of how it would fit; in context, it worked well and added a nice respite from a heavy topic. Overall, this is my favorite yet of the six in the Family Movie Night Series.

Here’s a sneak peak with commentary on bullying from the actors:

Bullying is certainly nothing to celebrate, but it was the back-story that made Field of Vision a terrific film. Terrific because it’s relevant, necessary, and critical for families, schools, churches, and communities to be aware of. For more information on what you can do to prevent bullying, CHARACTER COUNTS! anti-bullying workshops can teach you how to intervene, combat bullying, and promote a positive school climate.

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