“The Blind Side” (2009). Cast: Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron, Jae Head, Lily Collins, Ray McKinnon, Kathy Bates, Adriane Lenox, Sharon Morris, Omar Dorsey. Director: John Lee Hancock. Screenplay: John Lee Hancock. Book: Michael Lewis. www.theblindsidemovie.com.
Movies that celebrate the spirit of the season are, for me, one of the greatest joys of this festive time of year, and for decades, filmmakers have produced an impressive body of work with this theme in mind. Yet not all of these cinematic offerings deal so much with the holidays themselves as they do with the ideals associated with this special time of year (classics like “It’s a Wonderful Life” readily spring to mind). And this year, there’s a welcome new addition to that roster of pictures, the heartwarming drama, “The Blind Side.”
Based on the life story of professional football player Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), the film recounts how this African-American teenager from the Memphis projects overcame gut-wrenchingly sad circumstances and wound up playing for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. It’s quite a moving and remarkable story indeed.
When viewers first meet Michael, this soft-spoken gentle giant seems adrift, having been largely abandoned by his drug-addicted mother (Adriane Lenox). Yet Michael also has a strong survival instinct and a unique wisdom (despite apparent learning difficulties), qualities that ultimately prove to be his saving graces. With the help of a friend (Omar Dorsey), he first gets enrolled in an upscale private school. And then one night, through a seemingly chance encounter, he connects with an unlikely ally, one who would help him turn his life around in unimagined ways.
At first glance, Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) might not seem like the type to take in a homeless kid from the poor side of town. As a successful designer happily married to her well-heeled college sweetheart (Tim McGraw) and the mother of two bright kids (Jae Head, Lily Collins), Leigh Anne has lived a charmed life of affluence and privilege; in fact, she openly admits to never having visited the part of Memphis where Michael grew up. However, something about Michael’s circumstances inexplicably compel Leigh Anne to welcome him into her home, giving him things he never had—security, a family and a future. She quickly becomes an impassioned advocate for his success, helping to open doors for him that were once previously closed. As a consequence, Michael’s talents as a football player soar, first at the high school level and then in the collegiate ranks before eventually turning pro. But more than that, Leigh Anne helps Michael attain a life that at one time he only could have dreamed of.
The foregoing aside, however, “The Blind Side” is much more than just a football success story. For starters, it’s a relationship picture, most notably focusing on the interaction between Michael and Leigh Anne and how that connection allowed each of them to grow in ways neither of them thought possible. Each of them was “blindsided,” to use a football analogy, by the impact that they would have on one another, but that unanticipated contact enabled personal growth for both of them in ways beyond measure. What’s more, it’s also a movie about values—particularly those like kindness, compassion, charity and humanity—the kinds that one would like to hope are in force year-round, not just at the holidays. Through their support of Michael, Leigh Anne and her family set examples on these fronts that the rest of us could only hope to emulate.
Watching “The Blind Side” is like curling up with a good book on a winter’s day. It embodies the spirit of the season in many heartfelt ways. What’s more, it also effectively illustrates a number of lessons on the law of attraction, including:
- how we can formulate (or change) our beliefs to create better-than-expected circumstances, thanks to the beliefs that we have in ourselves and that others have in us (and vice versa);
- how having the courage to live heroically—particularly by taking chances that potentially may pay off big—can yield rewards beyond our wildest expectations;
- how charting the evolution of beliefs about ourselves over time can lead to the development of skills and expertise we never knew we had in us; and
- how all aspects of our individual and shared realities are intricately connected and how we can draw upon such connectedness to benefit from it, personally and collectively, in myriad ways.
“The Blind Side” is a fine new addition to the repertoire of holiday staples. The script is generally well written, with just the right amount of humor and a tempered sense of sentimentality that keeps it from becoming overly schmaltzy. The protagonists’ stories are well told, though Leigh Anne’s character development might have benefited from a little more back story (at the very least to the same degree afforded Michael’s character). Bullock and Aaron are terrific in their respective roles, delivering awards-caliber performances, thanks in large part to their tremendous on-screen chemistry. All in all, it’s a very nice package—even if it isn’t under your tree.
Happy viewing, and Happy Holidays, everyone!
Copyright © 2009, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.
A lifelong movie fan and longtime student of metaphysics (with an emphasis in law of attraction/conscious creation principles), free-lance writer/editor Brent Marchant is the author of Get the Picture: Conscious Creation Goes to the Movies (Moment Point Press, www.momentpoint.com). His additional writing credits include contributions to www.beliefnet.com and to Divine Revolution, Sethnet Journal and Reality Change magazines. Brent also maintains an ongoing blog about metaphysical cinema at www.getthepicturebrentmarchant.blogspot.com. He holds a B.A. in magazine journalism from Syracuse University and resides in Chicago. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.