The Blind Side Essay

The Blind Side

            With the promotional poster depicting a picture of a woman holding the hand of an oversized football player leading him onto the field, the movie “The Blind Side” made skeptics of moviegoers. Challenged by most energy-packed movies that hit the screens in 2009, the movie at hind sight did not do much  visual stimulation. However, being a movie that faithfully represents the real life experience of famed football star Michael Oher, it did not fail to raise a lot of eyebrows from both movie fans and critics. The fact that it is a success story of an African American who did good in life despite a tragic background did much for the marketing aspect.

But what spurred the most intrigue and added to the mass appeal of the movie is the fact that the this African American kid was adopted by a family, the Touhys, who were white-skinned Americans. This well-off family composed by the socialite mother, a father who owns a chain of fastfood restaurants, the cheerleader daughter and an energized young son became Michael’s family who geared him towards being a successful footbal player, erasing the painful past that affected his outlook in life.One cannot help but speculate on the possibilty that this is another movie that would be embracing social class and race as a central theme. One only has to see the movie and absorb as well as digest it well enough for one to realize that it tackles something simple, something that everyone is most familiar to. Love and family.

            The movie ends with a monologue done by Leigh Anne Tuohy, potrayed by Sandra Bullock, which actually sums up the main idea of the film. This is an excerpt from the dialogue delivered by the character of Bullock at the closing part of the movie,” I read a story the other day about a kid from the projects…in and out of foster care…killed in a gang fight…superb athletic skills…life would have been different…21 years old the day he died…it could have been anyone. It could have been my son Michael. ” This gives a an over-all view of what the movie communicates through the audience. Simply put, there are chances in life that a person may come along that would change our life perspectives. How we approach that change and be courageous enough to do something about it may have a lifelong impact on another person and might make a huge difference. The soundtrack that played at the end of the movie, Chances by the band Five for Fighting, contributes to creating an atmosphere for the movie that is both moving and introspective.

            Another major significance that the movie highlights is the existing and growing problem of gang fight deaths. The youth are at a constant threat of being dragged into a life that is on the danger zone. This is most likely for kids who grow up in a dysfunctional environment. Having experienced violence on the home front and left with meager opportunities for education, teens are easily influenced to join gangs usually involved in drug trafficking which can cost them their lives. In the movie, Michael has been exposed to the same kind of environment and may have fallen victim to the same deaths that his hometown buddies experienced if it had not been for the saving grace of the Touhy family. Acceptance is a major virtue preached by the selfless concern and love that the family extended to Michael which was reciprocated  by protective love that was inherent in him. The topic on racism was indeed slightly touched by the movie when Leigh Anne Touhy’s socialite friends sarcastically praised her on her charitable action but at the same time, warned her of the possibility that her daughter may be violated by Michael. Leigh Anne brushed this off and her family’s acceptance of Michael’s obvious physical difference sustains the film’s take on  acceptance and love as a major topic and regarded the racism issue as something that is unavoidable in an inter-racial or inter-class setting. It is then safe to say that the movie though purely intent on emotional significance, also has social relevance.

            Having an interplay of various human social and emotional issue, it is genius that The Blind Side is both dramatic and funny at the same time. Compared to other films that are of similar genre, the movie is delivered in a way that is very engaging and captivating. Like the movie, More than a Game which is the success story of sports icon Lebron James, The Blind Side has more artistic value and has a well-thought story line. Since sports films are usually true to life, movie watchers may be critical of how the movie is highly sugar-coated and tweaked. Therefore, directors and script writers are conscious on their presentation but, artistic value should not be compromised. The Blind Side’s approach is both informative and provocative making it unforgettable. Bullock’s outstanding performance in this movie definitely gained her the award. She was very instrumental on how the movie gained critical acclaim.  Since the movie bordered between being dramatic and funny, Sandra expertly gave a performance that is of best actress calibre. Her portrayal of the character was one that is of high entertainment value and delivered with an aristic flair that only actresses of her experience can satisfactorily put to effect.

            A lot of reviews since the showing of The Blind Side has been made by movie critics. This may not be all in agreement and different views of the movie has been presented. In examination of the various reviews that are posted in the internet by movie experts, it can be deduced that most of the reviews are positive. One in particular is a review made by Ann Hornaday for the Washington Post entitled “When the Story carries the Ball”. To say that I like the review is a understatement, because I am definitely in agreement with it. The review talks about the how the movie caught the critic by surprise. She had an early skepticism about how the movie would go but a big turnaround happened when the movie got rolling. To quote the critic, “What ensues is the kind of entertaining uplift Hollywood does best, its dramatic elements leavened by frequent moments of comedy.” This is most true because it is outstanding how the script was wrote in way that is very moving but cannot be totally described as cheesy. The director, John Lee Hancock did an awesome job at choosing the scenes to include in the film. The most relevant ones were picked and though it may only be a handful compared to what really happened, the scenes were very representative of the whole story. Another critic by Joe Lyndon for the Variety is yet another positive review. It describes the film as emotionally honest and gives a thumbs up on how the film showcased “an insightful and evenhanded view of racial and political realities in the contemporary South.”

            Of all the positive reviews abound, there are negative takes on the movie. To cite one, the review made by Melissa Anderson for the village voice critcizes how the movie made the white-skinned people as saints in the movie. The review is quite sarcastic and even touches on the topic of life by the actors outside the movie. It focuses on the critic’s interpretation that the movie was made to uplift the “imperfect whites”, a term used by the critic to describe the Touhys, and almost canonize them for their saintly act of paving a road of opportunity for Michael. It further emphasizes that the movie “peddles an insidious kind of racism.” In reaction, the critic gravely condemns racism but uses terms that attacks the white-colored Americans which gives the impression that the review is very subjective and rather accusatory. Another phrase form the review that I disagree with is the condescending way of how Michael Oher was according to the critic, treated like a “big puppy”. It was necessary that he was carefully instructed and guided because it was in the character’s nature that he lacks confidence and self-esteem.

            Movies that are about the real life struggles and success of famous and notable people are the trend in today’s movies. It is hard to come by one that can totally captivate attention and stimulate emotions in the audience. These stories are real life accounts of real people. Therefore it is necessary that these movies appeal greatly to the emotion and affect people in a way that would get them motivated and inspired because everyone wants to relate to someone that has undergone the same challenges as they did. Being success stories, it should make the viewer feel empowered  to rise against the raging tide of life and fuel their drive to positively impact other people’s lives. The Blind Side achieves being both a blockbuster hit and preaching life values that viewers can safely imitate.

Works Cited

Anderson, Melissa. “Saintly White People do the Saving in The Blind Side”. 17 November

   2009. Village Voice. 11 May 2010 ;

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Campbell, Rhonda. “About Gang Fights”. eHow. 11 May 2010.

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Hornaday, Ann. “When the story carries the ball”. 20 November 2009.  The Washington

   Post. 11 May 2010. ;

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Leydon, Joe. “The Blind Side”. 15 November 2009. Variety. 11 May 2010.

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“The Blind Side Movie Review”. 24 February 2010. Nhansense. 11 May 2010.

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“The 50 Best Movies of 2009”. 22 December 2009. Inside Movies. 11 May 2010.

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