Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"The Blind Side" A Movie with Christian Themes

Movie: The Blind Side

My family and I watched "The Blind Side" movie last night. After waiting out a couple of days for an available copy from the video store, we camped out in front of the TV to watch this wholesome family movie about a Christian family, showing loving hospitality to a homeless, down and out young man, Michael Oher. Based on a true story, this movie delicately highlights the social class divide, and what it takes for one boy to cross over to the other side.

Sandra Bullock is the main draw. Her sharp instinct to 'do the right thing,' is well acted out. Purposeful in what she does, she leads by example to let her faith and actions do all the talking. Her performance in this film is superb, making her a deserving Oscar winner in the best actress category.

Some Background
The 'blindside' is used here in football terms. In the American National Football League, the highest paid player is the quarterback, followed by the left tackle. It is in every team's interest to protect their most important asset, the quarterback. Hence it is no surprise that the second highest paid player is the left tackle. In American football, team players will want to protect their key player, the quarterback from being blindsided, or tackled by the opponents. Thus, there are key 'blockers' like security men trying to clear the way as well as to protect their quarterback. This responsibility falls squarely on the left tackle. Michael Oher, the other main character in the movie looks like a failure in life, at least from the eyes of many. Through several fortunate turn of events, Oher was given a new leash of life, a chance to discover and to use his gift. He was specially recruited into a prestigious Christian school to beef up the school's football team. Even though his academic grades were poor, the final decision to admit him was basically because it was the 'right thing to do.'

Central Themes
a) The Right Thing to do
The film highlights the poor and the rich divide. The Touhys, a devout Christian family belongs to the latter. From the way Oher was recruited, from the way the Touhys discuss their hospitality acts, and the way Mrs Leigh Anne Touhy (Sandra Bullock) behaves, this theme is consistent throughout. There is no point claiming to be a Christian in name only. It is more important to show one's faith through action instead.  The producers apparently try to teach Christians what is actually the 'right thing to do.' It is like the non-Christian producers in Hollywood, trying to teach to Christians about the 'right' way to practice Christianity.

b) Hypocrisy
There is a few scenes when Leigh Anne tells off her friends for their cynical and condescending behavior. One scene ends with Leigh Anne telling her friend, 'Shame on you,' when the friend tries to suggest that Leigh Anne's family be at risk because of Oher staying with them under the same roof. The friends may have shared the same faith background as Leigh Anne. The way they practice what they preach are poles apart.

c) Protective Instincts
Everyone needs protection. This is not limited to the left tackle role to protect the blind side of the quarterback. Michael Oher nobly protected his younger adopted brother from being hurt by the car's air bag using his arm. In the process, Oher got hurt. Another example of being protected is how Leigh Anne tries to assure Oher that it 'could have happened to anybody.' I find this very comforting and encouraging. If the family puts property above family, Oher will be in for a sharp rebuke for failing to take care of the brand new car. However, Leigh Anne behaves extremely calm and composed, showing us that people are more important than things. She protects the self-esteem and reassures the fragile emotions of Oher. Michael Oher, one with a 98% highly protective instinct, himself needs protection. Oher also protects Leigh Anne when they were in a dangerous neighborhood.

d) Courage and Love
This theme is strongly portrayed by Leigh Anne. She has love for her family, and for her strong Christian beliefs. Such love shines in all situations, showing us that she is not merely a fair-weathered Christian. She is ready to do whatever it takes, to do the right thing. This needs courage. Courage to stand up to the football coach, the neighborhood bullies, her high-heeled high society friends, as well as her strength to ensure Michael Oher receives the best education money can buy. It is touching, to see how Leigh Anne tries her best to bring Oher's academic grades to an acceptable level, so that Oher can attend college. She is generous, and does not think about getting any reimbursement for her investment in Oher.

e) Christianity
The Touhy family give thanks before meals. The private school is a Christian school. The motto is based on Christian principles. All throughout the movie, the 'ideal' Christianity, and the kind of Christians Hollywood expects is demonstrated in the movie through the Touhy family. I see this message clearly directed at the Republican supporters of American Politics, as well as the highly vocal evangelical conservative right. Better to practice what you preach instead of simply preaching without practicing.

Final Comments
As a movie that highlights how a young down and out life, can be restored to greatness, this film is inspirational. It teaches the importance of core family values. It suggests that the century old Christian faith is still very applicable in our modern lives. It tells Christians in particular that they can bring hope to a hopeless world, simply by practicing what they preach, instead of preaching down on people, and be hypocrites.

I believe that this movie has an important lesson for all Christians. If we want to practice our faith, we need to do the right thing. If we want to do the right thing, we need to practice what we preach. The way to practice what we preach, is not some sensational investment or supernatural acts of miracles. It is a simple act of mercy, that perseveres, that cares, that loves one another, as Christ loves us. through the character of Leigh Anne, we learn that true love is one that gives, and gives, and gives, without expecting anything in return. Even more impressive, noble giving is when we give to those who cannot afford to give anything back to us. For a non-Christian production to teach Christians to behave the right way, is not a shameful thing. It can be humbling. Christians should not feel offended, but should instead be grateful for this movie.

I strongly recommend this movie.



Anonymous said...

Very good movie

Anonymous said...

thanks great post

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