Thursday, November 05, 2009

"The Blind Side" touches the right side of your heart


Like just about everyone I enjoy a good movie and human interest stories are among my favorite. I like the plight of an underdog, the protagonist who perseveres, tackles seemingly insurmountable obstacles and scores a glorious victory.

Now granted those things more times than not happen in fairy tales and in Hollywood or both, but regardless of whether or not they are in fact fictional, if I walk out of a theatre or pause my DVD player feeling good and feeling entertained, the flick gets my thumbs up.

Yesterday thanks to the nice folks at Warner Bros. I was able to catch the sneak preview of The Blind Side: The Michael Oher Story.

In this movie not only do you get the feel good human interest story, you get the added value of knowing that the tale isn’t all bubblegum and cookies. The incredible journey of Michael Oher’s life happened – it is NON-fiction and to make the drama even more appealing, it happened to the first round pick of the Baltimore Ravens.

Given that he is a member of the purple and black, you already know most of the story but don’t let that stop you from checking out this one on the big screen. I have little doubt that you will applaud at the end of the picture even if it does include some over the top Hollywood embellishing.

Yet for me, the meat and potatoes of the picture – the part that resonated as I walked out of the Charles Theatre last night with my son was the underlying kindness that is really the glue that holds not only the movie, but Michael Oher’s life together. This movie very well could have been called Colorblind.

Leigh Anne Touhy played by Sandra Bullock is the film’s star. She is a take charge, A-type personality who runs a high end interior design company. Coupled with her husband who operates a chain of fast food restaurants, the Touhy’s are an affluent family living in the high end district of suburban Memphis.

Leigh Anne feels for the homeless Oher and takes him in – a gesture that her snobby friends label “white guilt.” When she passionately explains why she has become what amounts to as an ambassador Good Samaritan, her friends swallow humble pie as one friend concludes, “You’re changing that boy’s life.”

Her reply…

“No, he’s changing mine.”

You watch each member of the Touhy Family embrace Oher on different levels and in different ways. Their collective selflessness that enabled each to look into the heart of Michael Oher and not at his size, destitute lifestyle or his skin color is the shiny diamond of the movie that rises up from the ashes and teaches something to us all.

If you are looking for a hard-core football movie, The Blind Side is not for you. But if you want to be inspired by heartfelt and wonderful acts of kindness and the bonding of the human spirit, go see this movie. It won’t win any Oscars but it will win your heart, particularly if you are a fan of the Baltimore Ravens.

7 comments :

Jerry B said...

Great review, TL! Planning to see the movie ASAP! By the way, while Ed Reed's background is not as dire as Oher's was, if memory serves me right, he, too, was taken in by a white family with his family's permission when it became apparent that he might be headed for trouble. And, the rest, as they say, is history. Can't wait to see, "The Blind Side"........

beach08 said...

First, thanks to Tony L I had passes to enjoy the screening last night. I agree no oscars for the movie, but all in all well worth seeing. I agree you will cheer at the end. Heart Felt doen't even begin to tell the story. Upon leaving the theater and getting in our car I heard by eleven year old grandaughter sniffling and looked over to only see tears streaming down her face. I ask what's wrong? "She responded I really liked that movie and people really need to appreciate how lucky and previleged they are to have someone that loves them, have food to eat and bed to sleep to in. Bottom line this may be Michael Oher's story but at the same time it surley showed my grandaugther a few thing about life!! Thank you Michael Oher!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why Michael Oher seems to have distanced himself from this movie, especially if it puts him in a good light?

Don said...

Because he's unhappy with how he's portrayed in the book (i.e as being a mental midget). He felt he was taken advantage of by author Michael Lewis who overplayed the whole idea that Michael was borderline mentally handicapped. It's because of that book that the Ravens were able to draft Oher. He would, otherwise, have been a much higher pick based on his ability-level.

No Hear Joe said...

Great book by Michael Lewis!

Having been given a homework assignment by my sociology 101 teacher to write a 5 sociological perspective about it and I had no choice but to read it and do the homework and write a 5 to 7 page about it; describing a rational theory, conflict theory (strong case in this one), structure-function theory, symbolic interaction theory and socio-biological theory about what I feel from the book. I am honored to touch the life of Michael Oher and get an insight on the social environment that exist in the life of Memphis, TN. Had I not read this book would I care less about Baltimore Ravens. Funny how things happen, eh?
What inspired me the most was the love, compassion, integrity, and patience which permeated from the book and it brings tears to my eyes.

Best,
Deaf pupil of Clark College in Vancouver, WA.

peasec said...

The Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw has been one of most moving motion pictures this year. What makes the movie so touching is the heartfelt true story of Michael Oher, an African American professional football player who grew up against the odds with the help of an affluent Caucasian family.
Oher’s father passing at a young age and his mother battling drug addictions and giving birth to numerous children forced the state to place Michael in foster homes. As many children in the system, he ran from home to home trying to find his place in the world.
In Oher’s eighth grade year his uncle made a trip to the local private school in hopes that he could get his nephew a solid education and a spot on the basketball team. Although he never had any transcripts because he never consistently attended school, the principal granted him admission in hopes that he would perform on one of the athletic teams.
The private school in which Oher attended was in an upscale neighborhood in Memphis, surrounded by wealthy white people. With no adult supervision or guidance, Michael was seen by the Touhy family one cold rainy night walking down the streets of suburban Memphis. Leigh Anne, the Touhy mother made her husband stop the vehicle to ask him if he has a place to stay for the night. Leigh Anne, a strong, prominent woman, who manages a large interior design company, allowed Michael to stay the night in her home.
Michael eventually brought his grades up to the school’s standards, and he became a member of the football team. Standing about 6’3 and weighing 275 pounds, Oher made a great addition to the football team. His kind heartedness, and softness challenged the coach at making him a good defensive lineman.
Leigh Anne’s snobby friends believed that what she was doing for the child was absurd. While out to lunch, one of them made the comment, “You’re changing that boys life, “ she replied with, “No, he’s changing mine.” The Touhy’s allowed Michael to stay in their home and they eventually legally adopted him.
Because of his strong athletic skills, many division 1 college football teams tried recruiting Oher. He ended up signing with Ole Miss, where both his adopted mother and father were past alumni’s and athletic team members. The movie sends the viewers a message of strength, devotion to what’s right, and the determination of a family to help change and mold a child into someone that every young man and woman should have the opportunity to experience.
Unfortunately, not many children that grow up in poverty or in homes where drug abuse is experienced have the opportunities that were given to Michael. In cases that we see in today’s society, many children in Oher’s position never stand a chance. As the book, Social Problems, by Henslin and Fowler, states, “the rich and politically connected pass these advantages on to their children and the poor and powerless pass disadvantages on to theirs.” In the remarkable case of the Touhy’s, they took their advantages and blessings, and passed them on to a young man who was ever so grateful.

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