Directed by John Lee Hancock, The Blind Side is based off the true story of Michael Oher, a current NFL player who was adopted by the Touhy family who helped him increase his grades in high school enough to earn a college scholarship. Though Michael (Quinton Aaron) is a student at a private Christian school in Memphis, we see that he is homeless and has nothing more than an extra pair of clothes in a plastic bag. Leigh Anne Touhy (Sandra Bullock) notices the boy’s problems and her children are his schoolmates, her son S.J. (Jae Head) is especially fond of him. When she sees Michael wandering in the pouring rain, she sternly asks him if he has anywhere to go and invites him into her family’s home. As the Toughy’s learn more about Michael’s troubling past and his potential, both in the classroom and on the field, he becomes a permanent part of the family, despite the social implications.
Let’s be honest, in recent years Hollywood has usually turned non-liberal characters into the enemy. Basically anyone who is religious, a republican or from the south is being turned into a Tea Party caricature. In The Blind Side, Leigh Anne has all three of these usually damning traits, plus her family lives in a large beautifully decorated house with plenty of money to spare. It’s refreshing to see the sort of characteristics we find in sappy afternoon-special movies taken seriously and turned into a truly positive role. And best of all, the film doesn’t try to pretend that Leigh Anne is blind to her political traits, “Who would’ve thought we’d have a black son before we met a Democrat?”
Around Leigh Anne, we do see that the ugly stereotypical side of being a well-to-do southern, republican, Christian. When she’s out to a fancy lunch with her more stuck-up friends, they make racist judgments about the dangers of letting a large black boy stay in the same house as her teenage daughter. At the football game, we see a few fans and players of the opposing team pick on Michael because of his race. Leigh Anne is not blind to the hate and injustice she sees around her, but stands tall against it, even when it singles her out.
Having not seen The Blind Side as I watched Bullock win her first Oscar, I could not help but be skeptical. I mean, she was up against Streep and Mirren, two classy lady-titans, and we all loved the underdog story behind Sidibe. Now I can see where this came from, Bullock perfectly portrays a woman who is not constrained by stereotype and becomes an inspiration without even trying. And she’s propelled by this take-charge attitude that gives her a ferocious mother-bear feel. Call that cheesy if you like, but I prefer this to the old myth of how to win best actress: nude scenes.
Honestly, I enjoyed this film much more than I thought I would. It was not as sappy or religiously based as I had been told to fear. I’ve heard people call this a movie showing positive Christian values, but I believe it’s just showing positive human values. The moral isn’t for all rich white people to bring a poor black kid into their home. That’s just how this story pans out. The real idea to take away is if you see the need, do take the time to help someone out if you can.
“ If you so much as set foot downtown, you will be sorry. I’m in a prayer group with the D.A., I’m a member of the NRA and I’m always packing.”