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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

The Blind Side (review)

“Is this some sort of white guilt thing?” one of Sandra Bullock’s (All About Steve) ladies-who-lunch friends asks her Tennessee socialite after she informally adopts a homeless black teen (Quinton Aaron). One or two other small nods to issues of race and class aside, this utterly unsurprising, unchallenging feel-good flick mostly ignores larger social concerns in telling its implausible tale of the wealthy white Tuohys of Memphis (Bullock’s husband is played by country singer Tim McGraw: Four Christmases) who groom their unlikely charge for pro football, whether he likes it or not. Sure, it’s based on the true story of NFL player Michael Oher, as documented in Michael Lewis’s book of the same name [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon U.K.], but there’s not a lot of drama — you know, the stuff that makes a movie, um, interesting — in how screenwriter and director John Lee Hancock (The Alamo) chose to adapt that story. (We know he knows how to do that: he made the far more complicated and far more satisfying baseball film The Rookie a few years back.) Uncomfortably, it also adds another layer of fantasy to the notion that pro sports is a good way out of a life of poverty, drugs, crime, and other horrors for young black men: here, not only is an extraordinary raw talent the likes of which few people have required, but so is the luck to stumble upon rich, generous benefactors. It’s lovely for the real Oher that he did luck out this way, and it’s lovely that the real Tuohys were so kind to a total stranger, but mostly what I’m left pondering is, What about all the other young black men in the same bad situation who aren’t so fortunate?


MPAA: rated PG-13 for one scene involving brief violence, drug and sexual references

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine
  • FunWithHeadlines

    Shhhh! That’s applying logic to a feel-good story about how Red State values trump government intervention into our lives. That faith-based initiatives are all we need to solve the problems of society, no icky government workers needed. To point out how rare it is for such a lucky occurrence to occur, to note how it is that very rarity that made the story notable enough for book and film, well that’s just liberal jealousy or something.

    OK, seriously, I’m glad people are enjoying this film. It is a nice story to have happened and I’m glad for the folks involved. I sincerely hope there is no one in this country using the reasoning of the previous paragraph which was meant solely as a joke. Somehow I wonder…

  • Hank Graham

    If one of Michael Lewis’s books needs to get filmed, I wish Martin Scorsese would do “Liar’s Poker,” preferably with the same team he did “Goodfellas” with.

  • misterb

    Haven’t seen the movie, but definitely enjoyed the book. MaryAnn, it’s possible that you’re not the target audience for this one. While I would completely diagree with the politics of Sandra Bullock’s movie family, I think it’s a good thing that an anti-racist movie is proving so popular at a time when race could be a very polarizing factor in this country. Let’s look for positive news where we can find it.

  • RogerBW

    misterb: anti-racist? The message of this film seems to me overwhelmingly that those po’ dumb black folks can’t do anything for themselves (though they can be good at physical stuff), but all it takes is one white person to come along and their problems can be solved.

  • Hdj

    Its a football movie plan and simple. Football gets the most tv ratings, and I’m not surprised it does good in the movies. There is no need to over think the film, its just a family movie involving football and everything else is just to light a few bulbs in your head without burning out the fuse.
    Football movies sell. High School movies sell. The rest is just homework.

  • breaker19

    Did anyone notice that the black guy, Michael’s friends dad, who got Michael enrolled in the Christian school in the first place is never thanked, nor even mentioned after the first scene?

  • stingaree

    Very interesting that your last thought in the review is “what about the other young black men in the same situation who aren’t so fortunate” is almost exactly what Leigh Anne Tuohy’s voice over deals with at the very end of the movie (even showing photos of kids felled by violence in the projects).

    She posed the same question in the body of the movie! Did you skip out on the last two minutes of the film?

    As to the racism argument raised by one poster: If there were another true film about a black child, abandoned by his father, with a mother who was unfit to raise him and he was taken in by a white couple, encouraged to play sports (basketball) and he made something of himself, that, too, would, by your logic, not be a great story of charity and familial love but rather, patently racist, right?

    The subject of that movie would be Barack Obama and I take it you think that story is racist, too?

  • stingaree

    Breaker19,

    I believe he’s (Big Tony is his name) not mentioned again because in the film (as well as the book and real life) he threw Michael out on the street when his girlfriend objected to Michael sleeping on the couch. No hero, he.

  • LaSargenta

    I’m confused. From stingaree:

    …with a mother who was unfit to raise him and he was taken in by a white couple, … and he made something of himself,…The subject of that movie would be Barack Obama …

    It would? How was his mother unfit to raise him? His mother was a huge part of his life — waking him up early in the morning to finish his homework when he had slacked off. (or, at least that’s the way the story went when he was talking about single mothers on the campaign trail).

  • Janet

    Re Big Tony: I remember seeing him sitting behing Collins at something significant(the graduation ceremony I think).

    Re Obama’s mother: She didn’t raise him all young life; he had to move in with his maternal grandparents. That’s why his grandmother’s death around the time of the election was extra devastating for him; his mother had already died and Grandma was like a second mother to him.

    Stingaree’s point that despite being born to a teenage mother, Obama had a charmed life, going to an Ivy League school, etc. is well taken. Like stingaree said, it’s exactly the point that is raised at the end by Leigh Anne (Bullock). A lot of lives are falling through the cracks unless they get the opportunity they deserve. If you see the Good Morning America interview with the Touhy family, Collins says she’s enjoying hearing from people who foster and/or adopt kids from disadvantaged homes. This is obviously dear to their hearts.

    By the way, I once heard the radio d.j. Delilah encourage everyone in her audience who had a loving home to offer to take in a foster kid (she’s taken in at least two). I bet she’s thrilled this movie came out.

    As for me, this movie made me laugh and cry and cheer Michael on. Very uplifting.

  • stingaree

    Apologies, LaSargenta, you are correct. I should have written “unable” instead of “unfit”.

    And yes, Janet, I do remember seeing Big Tony in the film, at the graduation with his son, seemingly very happy to see Michael graduating.

    The world needs more Big Tonys as well as more Tuohys.

  • steve

    I thought it was a very good movie, nice story.

    sandra did a good job with her part, and played a different character for a change.

  • MaryAnn

    Like stingaree said, it’s exactly the point that is raised at the end by Leigh Anne (Bullock).

    And what are we meant to understand is the answer? Are we meant to believe that Tuohy’s solution is it?

    A lot of lives are falling through the cracks unless they get the opportunity they deserve.

    True. And how do we give them those opportunities?

    Tuohy’s question at the end is like making a movie about, I dunno, a bank robbery stopped by someone throwing an apple at the head of the robber, and then wondering, But what about all the bank robberies no one is stopping? Yeah, well, what about them? If the filmmakers were concerned about making a film that’s meant to be a solution to a big problem, then why didn’t they do that?

    Unless there are millions of well-off families willing to take in poor kids, what the Tuohys did is not a solution to our social problems, no matter how much anyone loves the idea, or even if it works for some people on a very small scale. I’m not suggesting, of course, that no one should adopt, or that no one should be generous and charitable and so on. I’m suggesting that this can only ever be a tiny, tiny part of the solution.

    And what about kids who are in intact families, whose parents love them very much and do their best to care for them, but who are unable to find jobs that pay well enough to send their kids to private schools, or even just to live in neighborhoods where the public schools are good? Assuming we could even find those millions of rich familes willing to adopt, do we take those children away from their parents?

    Leigh Anne Tuohy threw an apple, and it did the job, however unexpectedly. That’s nice for all involved, but what’s the takeaway from that?

  • dwa

    Maybe what we are meant to understand is that while none of us will likely solve the major social institutional problems we have in our wonderful country, we have daily opportunities to impact and help the lives of the individuals we meet every day..somtimes in small ways..helping push out someone’s car that’s stuck in the snow..and sometimes in bigger ways.

    If a movie was made about a physician that began a free health clinic serving people 2 days a week and then slowly overcame financial and personnel obstacles to grow into a larger venture and served an entire community 5 days a week and saved people’s lives, would you degrade that movie because the efforts had not solved our health care problems..Or what of a smaller volunteer clinic that diagnosed and saved the life of child with a heart conidtion…is that child’s family so disturbed about the continuing shortcomings of our health care system that they would hide the story of that lifesaving success because that clinic had not solved the healthcare crisis. We have 3 families in our circle of friends of different races and orientations that have successfully adopted children..none of whom are going to play football..(sounds like there are an awful lot of apple’s being thrown out there)..should we ignore the example they made in their children’s lives because they have not solved our country’s problems.

    I suspect that the message might be that just because our various governmental systems and political parties have not solved our problems, we do not have to give up or give in to societal cynicism. The message I got is that we each have daily opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives.

    Those stories and accomplishments are not only worthy of being told but also celebrated, especially during this season.

  • MaryAnn

    If a movie was made about a physician

    It would depend on the particular movie. Any premise can be turned into a good movie, or a great one, or a bad one. But if that movie pretty much ignored the reasons why a physician was moved to open a free clinic, and instead indulged in simplistic feel-goodery, then yes, I’d probably complain about it. It’s not that the physician’s efforts haven’t solved the health-care crisis, it’s that the people telling the physician’s story haven’t framed it in a context that acknowledges the larger issues that are at work.

    Similarly, my problem with the film isn’t that Leigh Anne Tuohy did not — and cannot — solve the enormous problems of racism, classism, and poverty. It’s that the tellers of her story don’t seem to have recognized that there are other issues beyond her generosity and kindness at work in the story.

  • Jack Cerf

    Too much of this movie reminded me of the scene in Atlanta between Scarlett O’Hara and Big Sam. One of the enduring tropes in white American popular culture is the Large and Strong But Simple and Innocent Black Man whose frightening power is so safely under white control that a little, short feisty white woman or child can manage him.

    Growing up in Baltimore in the 1950s, I saw Big Daddy Lipscomb deliberately play that role. I’ve since seen it played by Mean Joe Green and Shaquille O’Neill. Now Michael Lewis has gone and cast Michael Oher in it.

    To be sure the Tuohys did a good thing, but I don’t think we’ll ever untangle the exact proportions of doing good and doing well. Their motives were only to a degree less tainted by self interest than those of the high school football coach, who traded Oher’s recruitment for a college job. The Tuohys took the boy in and helped him learn what he needed to play Division IA football for their alma mater, Ole Miss, but if he hadn’t had that huge physical potential, he would never have appeared on their radar.

    It’s easy to see the athletic potential of a young black man. When are we going to see a true story about somebody seeing the raw business talent in a 14 year old black street hustler and teaching him what he needs to get into Wharton instead of Ole Miss. Oh, that was Trading Places, and it was only a fantasy.

  • miss Emily

    What a stupid review. This person gave it a bad review because “of all the young black men who aren’t so fortunate?” How about basing a movie review on the movie – plot, direction, acting, production? How retarded to review a movie based on his/her view on society.

  • amanohyo

    I realize that you were probably in a rush miss Emily, but if you scroll upward two posts prior to yours, your complaint is addressed by “this person” in the second paragraph. Scroll buttons never looked so gooood. Scrollin’ up and down, like you knew they would.

  • dwa

    What is more important?..to acknowledge the larger issues at work or to reach into someone’s life that has been devastated by those issues and make a difference for them today..right now. The answer, of course, is that both are important. Although related they are two independant, different problems. While we as a society do have problems “ignoring..and acknowledging the larger issues at work”, we also have a second and potentially more damning problem of ignoring the person that sits right next to us suffering who could be helped with a minimum of effort, care and concern. Although there is some acknowledgement of the “larger issues that are at work” at the end, this film primarily addresses the second problem. To degrade the film because it hasn’t “recognized that there are other issues beyond” it’s subject matter is to say, I don’t like this film because it doesn’t address the problem I choose to address. Nor is it a matter of untangling “the exact proportions of doing good and doing well.” This film is about illuminating the options that are presented in our daily lives of doing good or doing nothing.

    How would our family of the child with a congenital heart condition feel about the physician that “acknowledged” the problem of our healthcare system, attended forums on and advocated for change to improve the system but does not have the empathy to be the one involved in a free clinic, put a stethescope on the child’s chest, diagnose the heart condition, treat appropriately and save that child’s life. This is not being “indulged in simplistic feel-goodery.” This is making a real difference in a person’s life..sometimes in big ways and sometimes in smaller but no less important ways.

    I have participated in academic forums where people are perfectly willing to sit in a lecture hall and fully disclose their “acknowledgement of the larger issues at work” in healthcare, propose solutions, pat themselves on the back and then go home at 3 o’clock. But, when given the option of volunteering at the free clinic across the street, serving on the board of directors or even donating to the cause, they turn the other way, cross to the other side of the street and let the person that was right next to them continue to suffer. That is the problem this film addresses. This film portrays that situation when Touhy drives by a person they have some acquaintence with walking in the rain. Does she drive by acknowledging the transportation problems faced by those in our society caused by racism and poverty and plan to address them in the future or does she stop and help the person that needs it?

    The message I get from this film is that our society often has a problem of passing by those people right here, right now, right beside us that need our help. It seems a bit unusual for a film to address a problem and then be criticized because it does not do enough to “address other issues” that, while also important, are beyond the significant problem that is the film’s chosen subject matter. There are times that we have to step beyond acknowledgingthe problem and into doing something for the people affected by the problem. If we can’t appreciate that message in a film, what hope do we have of appreciating it in real life?

  • Interesting point, dwa. I’m glad that you wrote that last post–but I’m kinda sorry that you live in a society where writing something like that is necessary.

    I won’t pretend that this is my idea of the ideal movie. But I often get the feeling that if a movie was ever made out of the lives of some of the people I know who have escaped poverty, it too would receive similar criticism, no matter how hard it tried to be realistic.

    Add to that the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all route to escaping poverty–the same methods that work for one person won’t necessarily work for another–and the vague suspicion on my part that our society has actually done its best to retard the factors that have helped poor people in the past–for example, there’s no denying that the same public school system that helped my father get a decent education has gone downhill since he was a kid–and it seems a wonder that anyone escapes poverty at all.

    Then again, there’s a time to wax intellectual about the evils of the world and there’s a time to actually do something about them. And I suspect the reason I get so frustrated with so many movies nowadays is because it has become so fashionable to see movie makers embrace the philosophy that it’s no use doing anything because you can’t do everything. And yet you don’t have to be a big intellectual to realize that even doing something is better than doing nothing.

    As my mother used to say, five years is going to go by regardless of whether or not you do anything so you might as well do something…

  • It was a beautiful movie with a simple message:

    Do what you can. Its a change of attitude, others, not self.

    Obviously, not everyone is as wealthy as them. Not everyone needing help is a freikishly athletic black dude.

    Most of us probably identify ourselves with the Touhy family saying, if I had their money, or if I saw that guy, ect. that we would have done the same thing. Unfortunately, most of us are not represented by the Touhy’s but by the 3 salad eating friends. Judgemental, yet justified.

    On the other hand, Sandra Bullock didn’t play a different role, she tried, but played herself trying to act like a good compassionate woman. fail. she ruined a beautiful story/movie

  • Wen

    I shouldn’t be surprised that some people have to make this about racism. Claiming the movie is about poor blacks not being able to take care of themselves, until some white persons steps in to save the day. Or even the reviewer, claiming that the movie is implausible, even though it’s based on a true story.

    Gee it can’t just be about one human in need being helped by another, can it? With some of you there always has to be an ulterior motive as to why people do good things, either they want something in return or they are doing it as an insult to those they are helping, so they feel superior. It must be a miserable being so cynical.

  • RogerBW

    When the only story that’s being told is “white folks solve black folks’ problems”, well yeah, I think that is racist. Where in this film are the black folks who aren’t either helpless children or criminals? The ones who might actually solve their own problems?

    This film and Avatar, they’re both telling the story of how the lesser race can’t do anything for itself until someone white comes along to help out.

  • Mark H

    I have never posted a comment here before, but I could not let this review go without one.
    The review has to be one of the worst ones that I have ever read. I saw drama in this movie, like when Mrs. Tuophy goes to see Michael’s mother, I felt it was uplifting that she did not criticize her or anything, she treated her with respect.
    If you have heard or read any of the interviews with Michael Oher, then you would know that he wanted to play football and it was something that he was good at. Nobody had to force or push him into playing football.
    Football and other sports are a fine way for someone to try to get an education. I do not remember the movie making it seem like he was destined for a pro football career. It did portray football as a fine avenue for a kid to use to get a scholarship and an education, whether or not the dream of making it professionally came true or not.
    This was a very good movie with a wonderful story to tell. Oh, and their were christians and they were fine and decent people not the caricature that holywood spews out when they include religion in a movie.

  • MaryAnn

    How would our family of the child with a congenital heart condition feel about the physician that “acknowledged” the problem of our healthcare system, attended forums on and advocated for change to improve the system but does not have the empathy to be the one involved in a free clinic, put a stethescope on the child’s chest, diagnose the heart condition, treat appropriately and save that child’s life. This is not being “indulged in simplistic feel-goodery.” This is making a real difference in a person’s life..sometimes in big ways and sometimes in smaller but no less important ways.

    What you’re talking about is the difference between real life — real things that real people do — and the telling of a story intended primarily as entertainment. The two are not the same thing. Not at all.

    The message I get from this film is that our society often has a problem of passing by those people right here, right now, right beside us that need our help.

    Are you suggesting that it really is a realistic solution to the problems of poverty and class issues, that rich white people adopt poor black children?

    Or even the reviewer, claiming that the movie is implausible, even though it’s based on a true story.

    There’s a reason why we say that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to be plausible — real life does not. Real people have survived falling out of airplanes without parachutes. But that does not mean you can tell a straight-up narrative about such an event and not have people decrying it as ridiculous.

    when Mrs. Tuophy goes to see Michael’s mother, I felt it was uplifting that she did not criticize her or anything, she treated her with respect.

    Oh, for Christ’s sake. Can no one see the difference between a story in isolation, and the larger context in which that story is told?

    I will repeat myself: I am not criticizing Leigh Ann Tuohy, not even the fictionalized Leigh Ann Tuohy portrayed in the film. I am criticizing the particular way this story is told in this film.

    Also: “uplifting” is not the same as “drama.”

    It did portray football as a fine avenue for a kid to use to get a scholarship and an education, whether or not the dream of making it professionally came true or not.

    You still have to be pretty damn good at a sport to get a college scholarship. It’s not a path that’s open to many.

  • Anne

    “What about all the unfortunate young black men who aren’t so fortunate?” I ask you, what about all the other CHILDREN of all races and ages? This is what, get off your a$$ and ADOPT them! This is a story about a child’s life being valued and saved, or maybe he should have frozen to death? Who cares about the wealth, the white/black thing, or the football deal? Oh, and how horrible is there no more drama in this than the REAL story of child being saved from the streets. If you can’t see that, you’re all sick, especially you, MaryAnn, who posted this trash. If the movie is too boring for you, why don’t you consider the truth of the story, and ADOPT a child who needs a home. I don’t care if they become the best grocery bagger on earth, or president of the US. And yes, I am an adoptive mother.

  • MaryAnn

    Interesting. I complain that the notion that everyone should adopt a poor child is not the solution for what ails us, and it is suggested that I remedy this by adopting a child.

    Anne, can you address the issue I touched on above: What about the poor children who have parents? Do we take them away from their parents and get them adopted into wealthier homes?

  • Denny

    Loved The Blind Side!! I don’t understand how people can talk bad about this movie! It’s based on a TRUE story and that TRUE story happened to REAL people. Why should it address the larger picture of all low income children and families? That’s not what happened in the real events. If the director did address those larger issues he would’ve been bashed for that not being part of the story. It seems to me, sometimes being a movie director and actor can be rough work because you put your heart and soul into a movie and you still get ragged on for it!!

    Some movies don’t match with certain personalities. If someone of said personality sees a movie it’s not surpising when they don’t like it. I’m open minded and able to see things from different points of view. Some people have a “one-size fits all” view of the world. When something doesn’t match their thoughts it’s a bad idea and than they close their mind off to another perspective. I also don’t understand how some people are always cynical. Sure there’s negative things in this world but you don’t have to focus on that all the time. Next time try to find something genuinely positive about a bad situation.

    I’m a Christian who is very involved with my church and appreciated the faith side of the movie. But it could’ve used more drama from the real events to tone down the “feel-good” tone of the movie.

    I love inspiring Christian movies. But things aren’t always rosy in real life. Someone needs to start making more Christian movies where things don’t have a happy ending. Movies that portray sadness, grief, loss, and death cause that’s what real life is.

  • dwa

    “Are you suggesting that it really is a realistic solution to the problems of poverty and class issues, that rich white people adopt poor black children?”

    Wow,that is not even close to what I am suggesting or writing. See dwa Friday Jan 01 10, 11:15 PM paragraph 1 and 4

    Simplified-2 related but independent problems
    PROBLEM #1..”larger issues at work”/”poverty and class issues”/”enormous problems of racism, classism and poverty”
    PROBLEM #2..”ignoring the person that sits right next to us suffering who could be helped with a minimum of effort, care and concern”

    These are different problems..both of them serious and worth our attention but 2 different problems. Although there is some acknowledgement of #1 at the end of the film they have chosen to create a film about problem #2.

    IT SEEMS UNREASONABLE TO CRITICIZE A FILM (“the tellers of her story don’t seem to have recognized that there are other issues beyond” it’s chosen subject matter) BECAUSE IT DOES NOT FOCUS ENOUGH ON THE PROBLEM YOU CHOOSE TO FOCUS ON. That’s like criticizing No Country For Old Men because it does not do enough to recognize the messages of hope or justice when Tommy Lee Jones gives up and the killer gets away. That’s not the message/story that the Coen brothers so effectively decided to portray. It’s not effective to criticize a film because it does not choose to focus on the message or the problem you think is worthy of more attention.

    “What your talking about is the difference between real life–real things that real people do–and the telling of a story intended primarily as entertainment. The two are not the same thing. Not at all.”..a couple points

    1. I agree…so if it’s “just a story intended primarily as entertainment” don’t criticize the film because it doesn’t “recognize that there are other issues beyond” the chosen subject matter of the film. Don’t criticize a film about problem #2 because it doesn’t talk enough about problem #1. The filmmakers do acnkowledge problem #1 but choose to focus on problem #2

    2. The reference to the child with a congenital heart condition is meant as an illustration..(albeit,a real life illustration) to show how much can be accomplished for someone with a minimum of effort and concern and that problem #2 is worthy of being the primary focus of a film. I would have thought that the concept of helping those around you would be worthy of being the primary story told in a film but it evidently is not. It seems to be a recurring theme that if you do not solve problem #1 then any efforts or stories of problem #2 are misplaced and unworthy of consideration. I see this in critcisms of movies such as Freedom Writers..referring to the main character Erin Gruwell..”it’s wonderful, of course, that she saved a handful of kids, but what about the rest of them.”..criticism for just the concept of helping your neighbor without solving the societal problem. The reality is that not all of us have the ability, talent or context to be Martin Luther King Jr. but that doesn’t mean that we can’t help our neighbor.

    3. Finally, some films have the possibility of achieving something more than just “a film primarily intended as entertainment”. I think it’s fairly obvious that some art, whether music paintings or film does have the ability to inspire people. You could argue that this film’s story telling does not achieve that but it would be hard to criticize it’s story of problem #2..helping your neighbor..as being unworthy of the effort and criticizing it for not focusing enough on a different problem.

  • Although I see how your view of the world may cause you to categorize this movie as one that doesn’t address the “real” issue (that so many young black men who are unfortunate do not get the same opportunities that this movie portrays), the fact is that this is based on a true story. What I got from the movie was that while the Tuohys did give him everything they could and loved hime as a son, Mr. Oher impacted their lives in a very moving way as well. In the beginning of the movie they are cruise control and throughout the movie as Mr. Oher becomes a part of the family, they change in seemingly small but profound ways. Sandra Bullock says it best when her “friends” tell her that she is changing his life and she replies, “No, he’s changing mine.” While I think that in a larger social issue, much more can be done to help those in need and without opportunity, this particular film is not attempting to portray that, but merely tell the story of how a family stepped up to do something good when they saw a need. While thay were doing that, they began to see things with a different perspective. They began to question themselves, the people they spent time with, how they functioned as a family, and if they were good people. They began to learn, through Michael’s, about thankfullness and understanding what truly matters, as well as gaining an extraordinay son.

  • MaryAnn

    IT SEEMS UNREASONABLE TO CRITICIZE A FILM (“the tellers of her story don’t seem to have recognized that there are other issues beyond” it’s chosen subject matter) BECAUSE IT DOES NOT FOCUS ENOUGH ON THE PROBLEM YOU CHOOSE TO FOCUS ON.

    I agree that that would be unreasonable. But I’m not doing that. I’m criticizing the movie for not focusing enough on the problem that the movie chooses to focus on.

    Now, you may disagree with me on what the movie is focusing on. But that’s another issue.

    Here’s another question: Is this a “Christian movie”? What makes it “Christian”? There are lots of other movies like this one — movies about people who help other people — that I’ve never heard anyone call “Christian.” Is it just that the Sandra Bullock character says she’s Christian? And if that’s the case, then does that mean that being Christian is just about what you call yourself, and not about what you do?

  • dwa

    What do you appreciate to be the primary problem that the movie focuses on?

  • MaryAnn

    What do you appreciate to be the primary problem that the movie focuses on?

    But you already know what I think about this film! You explained it yourself:

    PROBLEM #1..”larger issues at work”/”poverty and class issues”/”enormous problems of racism, classism and poverty”
    PROBLEM #2..”ignoring the person that sits right next to us suffering who could be helped with a minimum of effort, care and concern”

    This movie is NOT about a “minimum of effort, care and concern,” as you seem to think it is. There’s nothing minimal about taking a stranger into one’s home.

  • dwa

    While I can get an idea of what you think of this film from your review, that still does not tell me what you appreciate to be the primary problem/theme that the tellers of the story choose to focus on.

    “This movie is NOT about a minimum of effort care and concern…nothing minimal about taking a stranger into one’s home.”

    I agree that there is nothing minimal about taking a stranger into one’s home but if my memory serves me correctly that is not a completely accurate picture of how the story unfolded.

    First, while he was not well known to them or a friend at that time, they did have some aquaintence with him. They knew roughly who he was, why he was there and why he would be walking in the area. If I was in their place I would not consider him a stranger.

    Second, the initial decision was not to take him into their home. The initial decision was to take someone who they had some acquaintence with that was stuck walking in the rain and give him a ride. That qualifies as a minimum of effort care and concern. We each have multiple simple but significant opportunities to help those around us in need. While many of those efforts will end with that simple but significant act it is truly remarkable what can develop from these efforts in unexpected fashions, just as it did with the Tuohy’s. If you would tolerate another real life example, my wife recently made blankets for a program called the Linus Project.(I won’t speak to her altruism as she did get free disney ticktes for her efforts) This started with 1 woman who heard a pediatric cancer patient talk about the comfort she received during her chemotherapy from her security blanket. She subequently started making some blankets for a children’s hospital, a simple worthwhile act that qualifies as a minimum of effort care and concern. It has subsequently grown and developed into over 300 chapters in all 50 states that provide blankets to children that are ill or traumatized. While neither the initial act of the individual woman or the vast organization that developed has solved the problem of cancer and trauma both have provided a tremendous comfort and support to those in need.

    Ultimately, this movie IS about that minimum of effort, care and concern that makes a difference in people’s lives. While it develops into much more with time, it is the initial attitude of caring for an acqaintence in need, to take him in from the rain, that drives the rest of the events. It is primarily the mindset of helping your neighbor and not ignoring the person that sits suffering right next to us that deserves and receives the focus of attention in this movie. While the vast majority of us will never solve our societal issues, we all have the opportunity to impact the lives of those around us. Movies with messages that focus on and inspire us to serve those in need, whether in simple or growing efforts should be critiqued for that message, not other subjects that are beyond the worthy message they choose to address.

  • BobC

    Folks,

    A number of you have made valiant attempts to turn on the lights for MaryAnn, but on her you are wasting your time. Hopefully others will benefit from your thoughtful and well described efforts. MaryAnn will not get it because she is stuck in her own little world. Read her bio, she “drinks too much wine…” and that’s just what she admits to.

    I wonder if she applied the same logic in denigrating “Blind Side” to her review of “Schindler’s List”. After all, Schindler didn’t save all of the Jews, either in real life or in the movie. MaryAnn was left pondering all of the Jews who were not saved, instead of appreciating the amazing feat that he did accomplish.

    This movie was never intended in ANY way as the specific guide book of how people should attempt to help all of our impoverished youth. Why MaryAnn thinks it does or should be about that is only to be understood by her. But a normal person probably does get the message that any of us can do something to help another person in need and it might make a difference in that person’s life!

  • Victor Plenty

    BobC, damn! You are really good at shooting your own foot. You seek to portray yourself, and people who agree with your views, as somehow vastly morally superior to MaryAnn. And yet your chosen method for trying to prove that point was so sleazy and underhanded it made my skin crawl.

  • What Victor Plenty said.

  • BobC

    Victor,

    If you agree with MaryAnn’s analysis, you obviosly suffer from the same inability to interpret what’s right in front of you in any kind of realistic manor. You apparently are as lost as she is in your misunderstanding what I wrote and what I meant. I think her arguments are ridiculous. If that makes your “skink crawl”, so be it.

  • JoshB

    Read her bio, she “drinks too much wine…” and that’s just what she admits to.

    The hell? What does this mean? Are you accusing her of sacrificing koala bears to Beelzebub?

    Or are you simply suggesting that MaryAnn is morally unfit to criticize this movie because of her oenophilia? Cause if so, well, that’s pretty damned stupid. Like, “please refrain from breeding” stupid.

  • Bluejay

    …you obviosly suffer from the same inability to interpret what’s right in front of you in any kind of realistic manor.

    That’s ridiculous. Who says your manor needs to be realistic in order for you to interpret things? You can have a totally unrealistic and absurd manor, with secret passageways and Batcaves and cloaking devices to hide it from the public. Why limit yourself? You gotta think outside the box a little, BobC.

    If that makes your “skink crawl”, so be it.

    Actually, if Victor owns a skink, chances are it would crawl regardless of any opinion Victor might have about your comments.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skink

  • i think “makes your skink crawl” should be maryann’s next tag line.

  • LaSargenta

    Maybe her skink will crawl into that irrational manor!

    Poor thing. I hope it finds enough to eat.

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