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A Review of The Blind Side (2009)

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A Review of The Blind Side (2009)

The Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw and

TheBlindSideMovie.com
"Forget sports. Look at the wall. 'Christian.' We either take that seriously, or we paint over it. You don't admit Michael Oher because of sports. You admit him because it's the right thing to do." -- Football Coach Burt Cotton, The Blind Side

"Do you have any place to stay tonight? Don't you dare lie to me." -- Leigh Anne Tuohy, The Blind Side

The Blind Side is a film about relationships: a young man's relationship to his surroundings, a woman's relationship to her values and a family's relationship to each other. The film celebrates the human spirit, its generosity and its perseverance.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • The Blind Side is a story of amazing inspiration; one that leaves its viewers with full hearts.
  • The film manages to tell a story of a homeless young black man who is taken in by a wealthy white suburban family without belaboring the racial aspect of the story.
  • Sandra Bullock's performance carries the film; it's no wonder she won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Leigh Ann Tuohy.
  • Quinton Aaron captures the soft-spoken, gentle giant-like character of Michael Oher perfectly.
Cons
  • If any criticism can be leveled at the film, it's that it sometimes relies on cliches and stereotypes to build drama and emphasize its points.
Plot
The Blind Side is about a young man named Michael Oher, who, has no place to live thanks to a drug-addicted mother and a negligent father. He grows up sleeping on the couches of friends and relatives. Big Tony, a mechanic eager to free up his couch from its night-time occupant, takes Michael along for a ride to Wingate Academy Christian school where Big Tony wants to enroll his son. Coach Cotton immediately recognizes Michael's potential athletic ability, and convinces the admission committee to admit the young man. He argues that Michael should be admitted not for his potential as an athlete, but because "it's the right thing to do."

Michael shuffles from classroom to classroom seemingly in a daze, apparently uncomfortable as a large black freshman in a virtually all-white school. Poverty-stricken, Michael's only possession is a second shirt, which he carries in a plastic bag and cleans in a dirty laundromat sink. His diet consists of the discarded concessions he finds in the basketball bleachers after games.

When the son of suburban housewife and interior decorator Leigh Ann Tuohy befriends Wingate's newest student, she discovers "Big Mike" has no place to stay. The Tuohy family takes him in and he begins to excel academically and athletically. The relationship is not one-sided, however. He brings the family great joy.

Tuohy wrestles first with her own prejudice (wondering if he'll steal), then with that of her friends, who see Oher simply as a charity case. It is then that her motherly attachment to him manifests itself into legal guardianship.
Michael's adoption is confirmed when the rest of the Tuohy family, which includes easy-going husband Sean, precocious Sean Jr. (a.k.a. "SJ"), and pretty high school cheerleader Collins, also warm to Oher as the new addition to their family. Oher goes on to excel with his new family, becoming eligible to play football and learning to protect the quarterback's "blind side." When he finally catches on, he becomes an all-star athlete courted by prestigious universities.

At the climax of the movie, Michael is given cause to momentarily question the family's ethical motives when a black female NCAA official suggests to him that the Tuohys only want him around to ensure he'll play football for their alma matter, the Texas Longhorns. Ultimately Michael plays college football and goes on to become a first-round NFL draft pick.

Conservative Perspectives
Liberals initially criticized The Blind Side for its "racist" overtones. The film is less a discussion of race than it is a condemnation of government "solutions" to social problems. Michael is a ward of the state when he meets to Tuohys, and his case-workers can barely deal with the young man's whereabouts, much less his academic welfare.

The story speaks more to the great divide between social classes than it does to the issue of race itself. While the social classes are indeed stratified according to race, race is secondary to wealth.

The Blind Side is an important film because it dispels a number of myths about conservatives while, at the same time, sending a wonderful message about the potential for family-values cinema.

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