MOVIE REVIEW: “The Blind Side”
by Jeremy Berg
The most inspiring, heart-warming cinematic experience of 2009 for me was without question The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock. While this movie based on a true story is sure to win over everybody’s heart, there is a special significance for Christians viewers. Coming out just in time for the Christmas season I found this film radiating with echoes of the gospel and the heart of true Christian faith and love. Let me share a few of these observations below. But first a brief synopsis:
“The Blind Side” depicts the story of Michael Oher, a homeless African-American youngster from a broken home, taken in by the Touhys, a well-to-do white family who help him fulfill his potential. At the same time, Oher’s presence in the Touhys’ lives leads them to some insightful self-discoveries of their own. Living in his new environment, the teen faces a completely different set of challenges to overcome. As a football player and student, Oher works hard and, with the help of his coaches and adopted family, becomes an All-American offensive left tackle.”
Sandra Bullock has been nominated for a Golden Globe for her portrayal of southern belle Leigh Anne Tuohy whose Christian convictions lead her to take in and “adopt” the all-but-forgotten Michael Oher and raise him as her own. The film certainly didn’t trumpet the gospel and is by no means “preachy” at all. Yet, the director is to be commended for making it relatively plain what was the key motivating influence in the Tuohy household — Christ. The Washington Post shares some of Sandra Bullock’s personal thoughts on playing the role of this evangelical Christian woman HERE.
Here are a couple of my observations related to Leigh Anne’s “living out” her Christian faith and how the gospel shines through this story.
1. Christians leave their comfort zones, go to those in need and get their hands dirty in self-sacrificial love and service. In the film the racial and socioeconomic wall between the Tuohys and the world of Michael Oher is high indeed. Nothing is more moving and admirable than when Leigh Anne leaves her safe and well-off world of wealth and privilege to risk her reputation and life by going into the projects with Michael. Her lady friends (certainly far from the heartbeat of Jesus even if churchgoers themselves) can’t understand what would motivate her to welcome this large African American teenager into their home and let him near her daughter. Leigh Anne sees Michael through the eyes of Christ and shows unconditional love and acceptance. She models Phil 2:5-10 and the good samaritan as she identifies with another’s suffering and is willing to risk and sacrifice herself for the sake of the other.
2. This is a story of redemption. Michael is given a new start, a second chance, a clean-slate and a hope of a better life made possible by the gracious sacrifice of the Tuohy family. So many fall through the cracks of society and go unnoticed because Christians fall short of incarnating the love of Christ and being the hands and feet of Jesus. Thankfully, folks like Leigh Anne Tuohy can inspire us all to take more strides toward Christlike love toward the least, the lost and the forgotten in our world.
3. Adoption is at the heart the gospel.The Bible is clear that we were all lost and estranged from the family of God apart from Christ. Central to the good news of the gospel is that we are adopted as sons and daughters of God in Christ and given a new family in which we can discover our true calling and experience the “life to the full” God desires for us (John 10:10). This is powerfully described in passages such as these: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12). “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Gal 4:4-5).”
We should all share the gratitude of Michael as we reflect back on our own spiritual adoption into the family of God where we now share in all the gifts and blessings of God. I am encouraged to see how many Christians are taking seriously the call to be those on the forefront of adopting the world’s orphans. Adoption is certainly an act of worship and obedience close to the heart of God.
I could go on and on. But if a picture is worth a thousand words, this motion picture is worth a million. Therefore, if you haven’t already, I’d recommend going to see it immediately. A magnificent story and beautiful film.
Did you see this film? What did you think?