Saturday, December 5, 2009

Movie Review: THE BLIND SIDE - More than Just a Football Movie

I'm not a football person. I have no clue why the players do what they do. But my lack of football knowledge didn't keep me from loving The Blind Side.

The Blind Side is the true story of Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron in a heart-rending performance). Today, he plays pro-ball for the Baltimore Ravens. But when the movie opens, he's a homeless inner-city teen who ends up enrolled at a Christian school thanks to his athletic potential and the smooth talking of a friend who let Michael crash on his couch. It isn't long, though, before Michael's temporary living arrangement comes to an end and he's out on his own again. That's where the Tuohy family finds him one freezing cold night, walking down the street without a coat, carrying his one extra shirt in a plastic grocery bag.

Leigh Anne Tuohy (played with fearless honesty by Sandra Bullock) is the definition of a steel magnolia. She's a strong southern woman of faith who loves her family. When she sees Michael, alone and in need, her heart goes out to him. And Leigh Anne is a woman who listens to her heart. She invites Michael into their home for the night, which turns into an extended stay. Eventually, Michael becomes part of the family, both emotionally and legally.

Watching Michael's story unfold on the screen was an amazing experience. More than once I asked myself, "Could I do that?" Could I invite a stranger into my home and heart? When I see someone in need, am I willing to change my life to help him? I'm afraid I'm not quite there yet.

The Tuohy's are an amazing family. Even more amazing is that they see themselves as just ordinary, boring folk. In an interview on, Leigh Anne and her husband, Sean, say they're still surprised that anyone is interested in their family. Which makes their story even more extraordinary. These are people who acted out of compassion, simply because it was the right thing to do.

The Blind Side is a well balanced film with equal parts humor and heart. One of the reasons it works so well is because it's not a Christian film... it's a film about people who live their Christianity. In the above mentioned interview, Sean Tuohy (played with quiet dignity in the movie by a nearly unrecognizable Tim McGraw) had this to say:
It (the script) was written by an atheist. Crazy. So it was in someone else's hands. If it was in the "right person's" hands, it would have been so transparent it wouldn't have been believable. The fact that it was in someone else's hands, and that person kept getting tugged back, was crazy. First it was about football, and then it wasn't about football, and kept going back and forth. I think that's the beauty of it that it has so many flaws.

If a staunch Christian writer would have had that, it would have been a perfect story and no one would have been interested in it. The fact that people look at us and go "No, I ain't buying it," is good. There are always people who will believe it, but there will always be people who are in between, who will look at us and go, "They're not perfect, so I can be a believer too." I think that was kind of Sandra Bullock's thing. She saw that we have faults all over the place, and that's OK. That's where I think that if this had been written by "the right person," there wouldn't have been any interest.
There are lots of movie going choices this holiday season, but if you're looking for one that celebrates the true meaning of Christmas, this is the one to see.

For some more fun, check out the movie trailer on The Blind Side official website.

Serious question: How far are you willing to go to help "the least of these"?
Fun question: What's your favorite holiday film?


  1. This film is going to the top of my "favorites" list. I cried and laughed and left feeling satisfied and that there are good people left in this world. I absolutely loved everything about the movie. Everything.
    I'm also happy there's finally a good, good, good movie to recommend to friends. I hope a lot of Christians, Jews and conservatives go to see this movie so that Hollywood can be rewarded for finally getting it right.

  2. Karla, I couldn't agree more. I spent half of the movie laughing, the other half crying. I saw it with my husband and teenage son, and they both felt the same way (although they won't admit to crying).

    This is a movie you can take anybody to, regardless of where they are in their faith walk. The powerful message of loving each other comes through loud and clear, but in a non-threatening way. God's hand has been on Michael Oher for a long time, and now He's using his story to touch others.

  3. What a blessing to have a movie that combines Christian values with a wonderfully conceived plot, cast, setting, cinematography...

    I've done quite a bit of research, and in this case Hollywood seems to have remained true to the real story.

    A wonderful holiday activity for the entire family!

    Oh, I LOVE the Inkies taking on one of my favorite Humanities genres!!! But where's the popcorn???

  4. Okay, now I HAVE to see this. I love a good story of redemption. The cool thing is that I'm not sure who's being redeemed. What stuck out to me in the trailer was the exchange Sandra Bullock had with some unknown woman. The other woman was congratulating Sandra on changing him. But she shook her head. 'No, he's changing me.' Love that!

    Great review, Jen.

  5. You have an award on arise 2 write.

  6. My whole family enjoyed your post this morning, Jen. My son is going to see this movie this afternoon, and now everyone else is jealous :)

    As to your question, it definitely challenges me. I used to be very quick to help anyone anytime, but I got burnt a lot that way. Now, I'm very careful to pray and see if God wants me too help, but I've probably grown too cautious.

    We have opened our home to families in need before, but it has always been someone we knew. I think the Tuohy family was very brave.


  7. I loved, loved, loved this movie, on so many levels! It's one I will definitely want to own and watch again, probably because it combined two things our family loves--helping "the least of these" and football! :)

    We have been challenged to be more involved in the helping of others in the past few years, though we have never gone to the extent of the Tuohy's. Like Dina said, I think they were very brave.

    As for holiday films, well they are my favorite--and I just added a new one: The Shop Around the Corner! I guess I'd never actually watched the whole thing and realized it culminated on Christmas eve! Of course it joins many of my holiday favs made before 1950.

  8. Jen,
    I can't read this yet because I haven't seen the movie. It's one I'm looking forward to. I want to know how you got that movie trailor to work. :)

  9. Lisa, the redemption really does go both ways in this film. You see how knowing Michael and embracing him as part of the family changes all the Tuohy's. That scene in the restaurant touches on the preconceptions people have and makes you examine your own heart. Really good stuff.

    Patti, movie theater popcorn is one of my guiltiest pleasures! Won't you join me in a big, buttery cyber-bucket?

  10. Dina, I live in a town where panhandlers are everywhere. I call them that because there's really no way to know if the people asking for money sincerely need it or not. I saw one guy with a gas can and a sign that said "Ran out of gas. Need money to get home." My husband gave him 5 bucks and I shook my head because I didn't believe the story. Sure enough, three days later I see the same guy, same sign and gas can, different location about three miles across town.

    But in that Clash Entertainment interview (BTW, that site belongs to Ken Raney, Deb's husband) Leigh Anne talked about giving. She said they always give money to people on the street. Because they've been blessed with much and have the ability to do it, they feel it's their responsibility. And if the people are lying and really don't need the money, then that's between those folks and God.

    The way the world is today, I'm afraid God would have to hit me with a 2X4 to get me to bring a stranger into my home. I definitely lean more toward the side of caution in that area.

  11. D'Ann, I finally saw The Shop Around the Corner about a year ago. Very sweet movie. One of my favorite old Christmas movies is It's a Wonderful Life (another Jimmy Stewart classic). I love seeing how the small, day to day actions of one person affected an entire town.

    As for modern favorites, Elf is right up there. It's funny and sweet (although I could do without the used gum gag) and the homage to those old claymation Christmas cartoons at the beginning is hilarious.

  12. Hey Jill, I'm like you. I want to know as little as possible about a movie before I see it. No spoilers!

    I got the movie trailer off The Blind Side official web site. It was too wide at first but I figured out how to change the size. The only thing I couldn't do was turn off the autoplay. I really don't like it when a video just starts playing. But I so wanted to include this one that I let it go. I'll probably delete the video soon so it doesn't drive people nuts!

  13. I can't believe I forgot earlier, but I had my own funny blind side moment last year. I had to come back and share.

    My son forgot his notebook at home, called me right when he got to school, and asked me to drive it to him. I walked out to the car. At the end of my driveway stood the most pathetic, dejected, big black football player you've ever seen, shuffling past my house with pads and helmet in hand.

    It seemed too weird to be a coincidence. I said, "Did you miss the bus."

    He said, "Yeah."

    I said, "Middle school or high school."

    He said, "Middle school."

    I said, "I know this is strange, but I'm driving there right now to bring this notebook to my son. Do you want a ride?"

    He said, "Yes, please."

    So the poor little guy (who was bigger than me) climbed into the car beside me.

    I looked at him and said, "You must have been praying really hard."

    He said, "Yes ma'am. I was." He had a big football game, and he wouldn't have been allowed to play if he didn't get to school soon.

    It turns out he's a nice Christian kid, and his parents both leave for work really early. We've driven him to school about ten times now, and he's become a family friend.

    Of course, since then, he's developed a crush on my daughter, so we won't be inviting Ricardo to live with us anytime soon ;)

  14. Thank you, Jen for the trailer. Much better than the one I've seen on TV.

    You know, when I was searching around for a photo of 'extras' to use with my post yesterday, I went through so many unsuitable ones. Then The Blind Side popped into my head and when I did a quick search, saw the one I used. It was perfect. So, do y'all think it was coincidence? I was aware you were doing a movie review, Jen, but I wasn't cognitively aware of what it was about.

    I can't wait to go see this one.

    Dina - too funny. And I thoroughly agree with you. LOL

  15. I soooo want to see this movie! We were hoping to go today but our son had his SAT test and wanted to come home and crash. Maybe we can make tomorrow afternoon after church. Can't wait!!!!

  16. I think I'll wait for the DVD. I hate crying in the theatre. And maybe by then, I can get past this thinking that a blonde Sandra Bullock equals Kathy Lee Gifford.

    Jen, I hope that I have a chance to do something when God wants to me act. I can't imagine it would be taking in someone to live here, but at least I hope to recognize the need and step out of my comfort zone.

    Hey, my favorite Christmas movie is White Christmas. Hope I don't get run out of Bedford Falls!

  17. I cannot wait to see this movie...thanks for the post...and the trailer. What an inspirational story. This is what the "Christmas season" is all about.


  18. Deb, Sandra Bullock is NOTHING like Kathy Lee in this movie! No offense, but Kathy Lee drives me a little crazy :+}


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