Here, we are immersed in rough, name calling, beer drinking and drug smoking childhood/ adolescence. In particular we’re dropped into a school yard pounding by overweight bully: George (Josh Peck), administered to a considerably smaller Sam (Culkin). What follows is a scheme by Sam and friends to give ol Georgy a taste of his own medicine. Let me tell you, this movie is as serious as can be.
That isn’t to say that there aren’t a few laughs – because there is (The school type variety of course). They come early on and have more to do with the honesty, innocence and ignorance of the school aged characters. Hec, it’s even kinda hard not to get into the exchange of taunts between em. All this takes an ugly, tense and realistic turn when “Consequence of one’s action (or inaction)” is brought into play however.
I have found the funniest thing is that as adults, many of us forget the effects of bullying. Even some of us somehow forget that it exists and don’t believe it is still as big a problem– it is – if not in some ways worse because of bullying’s evolution (Think social networking).
While dated (with a release of 2004) this “official selection of the Sundance film festival” does begin to speak about the nastiness of bullying. But I would say that it suffers a little in the way of being broad. That is that, I felt the movie had difficulty to establish a proper buy in to really feel for the characters themselves on an individual level instead of as “Kids” ... Or Georgy as more than just a “Bully” with issues. That aside, the movie al’ remind you of all the grey and complexity of bullying AND ask: How much did the parents know throughout the movie? Here, there aren’t any answers, just a reminder that there’s a festering wound hidden below in the depths of childhood and adolescence that exists as much today as it did in the past. That, despite our advancements and intellect, we can’t get enough people together to really make a big enough, important change in how we recognise, deal with, and prevent bullying... if not decrease its likelihood and its effect.
Mean Creek gets a 7/10 on Scale in my books.