Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Blind Side

The title and poster suggests a sports movie, and sure enough there are sports to be found, but thankfully it's not about that. The Blind Side is no more about football than Inglourious Basterds is about war.

In the film, Michael Oher is a massive black high school boy, born to a crack mom and a runaway dad, seemingly slow-witted to the point of mental retardation. His IQ is just a little bit higher than Forrest Gump's, he's as big as a bull, and about as lovable as a rock. So it's a real stretch of the imagination to accept that rich white Leigh Anne Tuohy (played by Sandra Bullock disguised in a Southern accent) would pick up this silent hulking bear from the street and adopt him into her family. It's a story so domestic and inspirational and Hallmarky that it just has to be based on a true story (it is).

They even got the appearances of the characters so accurate that, when real-life photos are shown along with the end credits, you can tell who everyone is. Reading about the actual true story it does seem like the thing that movies are made of, and the end result is whipped into the rough mold of a movie by employing an endless string of cinematic tropes.

"Is this some kind of white guilt thing?", one of Leigh Anne's rich white friends asks her in what must be, I presume, the movie's attempt to preempt the racism argument. I don't blame her. Apparently there was some controversy over this. After all, it's got the black brutish football player, the black crack whore mother, the black violent drug dealer, even the black snippy low-level bureaucrat-- and of course the upper-class white mother with a heart of gold for her magical negro. Seeing that the movie rather accurately portrays a true story, perhaps it is real life which is racist.

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