Skip to main content

A Little Too Wholesome

Movie Title: The Blindside (2009)
Spoilers: No

---

I feel stupid stating that America (and not just America) has come a long way in race relations. The majority has gone from unleashing packs of dogs and turning fire hoses on African-Americans to welcoming “them” in “our” schools and homes. And if The Blindside is to be imitated, non-blacks should have a production made of this progress.

The Blindside is the true story of Michael Oher, a homeless, African-American boy adopted by a well-off, white family who goes on to become a college football star, and from there, a pro NFL player. The film is based on the 2006 book by Michael Lewis titled: The Blindside: Evolution of a Game.

Once adopted, Oher (Quinton Aaron), whose mother was a drug addict and whose father was a victim of murder, has a whole new set of challenges in his new home. Among them is getting his grades up so that he can play college football. But he has the help of a loving, conservative Christian family at his side.

Moving and heartwarming, The Blindside is magnetically appealing at every point. You pay full attention because such innocent compassion is so seldom found on the big screen. The film can brag about its fine writing. It was the employment of white guilt that didn’t sit well with some.

There is such a thing as white guilt. It comes out in conversations when there is an argument about race. You might recognize it in the things people say like, “I’m not racist. I have [insert ethnicity: black] friends.” It has become a culturally ingrained reaction for great numbers of white families, in an almost paranoid attempt at getting across to the world: “I may be white, but I’m not racist. Look, I’ll prove it...”

The Blindside is a well-acted and wonderful family film, with wonderful characters that are tantalizingly likable. Bullock has finally stepped up to her potential and has dropped the quirky bimbo roles for something better. She plays Leigh Anne Tuohy, Oher’s always-resolute, adoptive, firecracker of a mother. And though it wasn’t the intent, she looks hotter than ever, in a sophisticated and successful “southern bell” way.

Kathy Bates is “Miss Sue,” Michael’s tutor and a professing democrat (the Touhys seem to have been just tolerant enough to be willing to hire her in spite of that latter fact).

In made-for-TV-movie fashion, The Blindside is appropriate viewing for the whole family. Its message is as wholesome as a student bringing an apple for a teacher. In fact, it’s a bit too wholesome, which is one of several small but back-setting flaws.

Nearly everyone in The Blindside is portrayed as a single-dimensional set-up of a stereotypical character type. The Christians are staunch, white, church-going republicans who boast about being card-carrying NRA members and “packing” accordingly. Even the teachers are cookie cutter country bumpkins. The blacks are down-on-their-luck apartment-dwellers facing eviction, if not gang members or street thugs. The film would have been even better had the stereotypes been downplayed or else eliminated. But it's not like there's banjo music playing in the background or anything.

You are supposed to like them, everyone. You are obligated to like them. In fact, it’s hard not to like them. They are as undeviating and as direct as you would expect from a creation aimed at pleasing the most conservative of Bible-believing families or mainstream viewers.

My only other gripe with this excellent and lovably entertaining film: It’s an inadvertent step backwards for race relations, as though to say: “We’re southern and we’re Christian, and that means we help unprivileged blacks.” Why the need to broadcast the innate sense of charity that all rationally healthy and benevolent humans are capable of exhibiting?

(JH)

---

Grade: B+ (3 ½ stars) Recommended!
Rated: PG
Director: John Lee Hancock
Summary: The story of Michael Oher, an homeless and traumatized boy who became an All American football player and first round NFL draft pick with the help of a caring woman and her family.
Starring: Sandra Bullock “Leigh Anne Tuohy,” Tim McGraw “Sean Tuohy,” Quinton Aaron “Michael Oher,” Jae Head “S.J. Tuohy,” Lily Collins “Collins Tuohy,” Ray McKinnon “Coach Cotton,” Kim Dickens “Mrs. Boswell,” Adriane Lenox “Denise Oher,” Kathy Bates “Miss Sue”
Genre: Drama / Sports
Trailer

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

When Jesus Turns Down the Glory: 10 Worst Ever Christian Songs

It’s a sad testimony when even the creator of a thing realizes that the product isn’t what it was intended to be. Well, actually it’s a good thing. It just doesn’t happen often enough. The Christian music industry is, shall we say, not up to par with where its admirers (and even creators and ardent well-wishers) would hope it would be. And when even the average believer realizes that their music is not market-cornering stuff, all should know that there is a problem.

Now not all Christian music sucks (you might even find a few rock songs from artists like Petra on Joe Holman’s ipod that he still sometimes listens to and enjoys), but what makes the stuff that does suck suck is that what sucks sucks for a number of different reasons. We begin the countdown going from best of the worst to absolute worst...

Movie Review: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

When free spirit “Jules” (Anna “Go Girls” Hutchison) tells her best friend “Dana” (Kristen “Revolutionary Road” Connolly) what a good time they’ll be having at a cabin in the remote woods, you automatically know and are glad that she has no idea at all what awaits her or her friends, and neither does Jules’ jock boyfriend “Curt” (Chris “Thor” Hemsworth). The same is true of their intellectual friend with his notably piercing gaze, “Holden” (Jesse “Grey’s Anatomy” Williams) and their stoner friend “Marty” (Franz “The Village” Kranz) who seems to have a better grasp of reality, despite himself. Takes all kinds.

After taking off in the RV up the mountain, they stop for gas and run into a weirdly cryptic and confrontational gas station attendant (Tim De Zarn). When they’re back on the road after a near-fight, it isn’t long before they arrive and forget all about it. Following horror movie suit in letting out their whoas about how cool the place is and how much fun they will have losing t…

Movie Review: Django Unchained (2012)

At about 3 hours long, Django Unchained is Quentin Tarantino’s latest mental sickness-inspired adventure of a slave named “Django” (Jamie Foxx) who is freed by a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter, “Dr. King Schultz” (Christoph Waltz) who helps Django rescue his enslaved wife from a cruel plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio) in Mississippi.