The Blind Side: Blindsided

Movie:The Blind Side
Company:Alcon Entertainment
Director:John Lee Hancock
Starring:Sandra Bullock
Tim McGraw
Quinton Aaron

        I really did not want to see this movie. I knew that my wife had been wanting to see it for a while. However, I also knew that it told the story of a white southern family who takes in a disadvantaged black kid. So, naturally, I was expecting yet another Hollywood lecture full of blame, guilt, and loathing about race and class in America. I could not have been more wrong.

        Now, don't misunderstand me, it did tell a story with the old familiar themes of division; rich and poor, black and white, enlightened and ignorant. It even told its story, at times, with just as familiar alternating rose and mud tinted glasses. However, this story was different in that it was real, and I don't mean that it was based on real people and events, although it was that too. I mean that it portrayed people and situations much as they really are, beyond those convenient and tiresome divisions. It is a story of real life and real people, with strengths and faults, fears and courage, pettiness and goodwill.

        Quinton Aaron as Michael Oher is a disadvantaged teen abandoned by the people in the world he knows and taken in by people in a world completely foreign to him. His alienation is both palpable and accessible. Sandra Bullock as Leigh Ann Tuohy is a mother who sees a lost kid and who steps up, each time the need arises, to give him what he needs most, a family. Her motivations are just as human and understandable.

        Imagine my confusion to see a Hollywood movie make an attempt at portraying people, not stereotypes. Family portrayed as affirming, not as dysfunctional. Christians portrayed as compassionate, not as bigoted buffoons. The wealthy portrayed as caught up in their own too busy lives, not as greedy, predatory elitists. NRA members portrayed as responsible citizens concerned with protecting their families, not as rabid gun nuts. Even the occasional moron (no group excluded) who makes a bigoted remark portrayed as flawed or mistaken or unthinking or ignorant, not as an evil, irredeemable degenerate. Heck, even the obligatory Hollywood swipe at G.W.B. was made by a harried, buck-passing bureaucrat when asked who ran their inefficient office.

        On the surface “The Blind Side” tells the story of Michael Oher and his rocky path to make All-American and the NFL. However it is really a vehicle for the restatement of some simple and powerful truths such as, “People are people”, "Charity begins at home", and “Family is where you find it”. It is a surprising and welcome recognition that America and her people are a heck of a lot better than Hollywood often portrays them to be.

Hollywood, STFU Rating: 0.5 Hammer and Sickles