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'Blind Side' Fills Hollywood Void With Christian Face

December 7, 2009
By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

The nation’s No. 1 weekend film, “The Blind Side,” accomplishes something that Hollywood typically has been reluctant to do in modern times: depict Christians as complex characters rather than stereotypes.

“The Blind Side” tells the true story of current Baltimore Ravens rookie Michael Oher.

On screen, Quintin Aaron plays Oher, a homeless black teen from the Memphis projects. One rainy night before Thanksgiving, the young man catches the attention of a suburban white woman named Leigh Anne Tuohy, played by Sandra Bullock.

Tuohy is an affluent interior decorator and Memphis socialite whose husband, Sean, owns several fast-food franchises.

She’s a Bible-believing Christian who loves the Lord, so when she spots the teen walking alone with no warm clothing to fight off the elements, she feels compelled to ask him whether he has a place to stay.

She brings Oher to her home to provide shelter for the night but ends up making him part of her family, a devout Christian clan.

Modeled after the real Tuohy, Bullock’s character is a tough-minded conservative and NRA member.

She and her family frequently pray, strive to live a good life despite human failings, and derive inspiration from their faith. Together they accomplish a remarkable act of love and kindness.

A real-life miracle is documented on the big screen, one in which a neglected homeless child finds a forever family and with fierce love and support goes on to become an All-American football player and first-round NFL draft pick.

Because of the authentic humanity that Bullock and Tim McGraw, in the role of Sean Tuohy, display exquisitely, the audience is encouraged to do similar types of edifying things in their own lives.

A nice little Christmas gift from Hollywood.

Two major Tinseltown figures may have presents of a different kind on their minds. George Clooney and Clint Eastwood seem to have similar career priorities.

The past few years they have timed their films to correspond with Oscar season, late September through the end of the year.

Clooney’s "Up in the Air," a film in which the actor plays a corporate villain, and Eastwood's "Invictus," a movie in which Morgan Freeman plays iconic leader Nelson Mandela, fit the Oscar bill in terms of content and timing.

They both also happen to be quality films that have taken significant steps toward fulfilling Academy Award winning dreams.

Eastwood won the National Board of Review's best director honors for "Invictus," Clooney shared the board's prize for best actor with Freeman, and “Up in the Air” won best picture.

The board's membership includes academics, filmmakers, and others in the industry. Early awards from the organization start the Oscar buzz going and can help lead to nominations for Academy Awards, which are coming up in March 2010.

One little known-film from Bollywood won the board's best picture honors last year.

Its name? “Slumdog Millionaire.”

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Copyright © 2009
James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
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