Sunday, November 8, 2009

On The Blind Side

This week I saw an early screening of The Blind Side. I'm always conflicted about seeing movies like this--"quintessential negro" movies. Basically that's any number of Hollywood movies, fact or fiction, in which white folks come to the rescue of down trodden black folks. And it's not that that's a bad thing, but with the history of race relations in this country, these movies come across to me as somewhat paternalistic. [In fact, stories where black people save themselves typically don't do well at the box office--I'm thinking of Rosewood in particular. But I digress.]

The Blind Side is the true story of NFL athlete Michael Oher who, as a teenager was a homeless ward of the state of Tennessee due to his mother's addiction to drugs and an absent father. Oher (played by Quinton Aaron) was taken in by a wealthy southern couple Leigh Anne (Sandra Bullock) and Sean Touhy (Tim McGraw) who become his legal guardians, help him finish high school, and help him obtain a football scholarship to Ole Miss. It's sort of a fish out of water tale for bothOher and the Touhys. In fact the best line in the movie is when Mr. Touhy comments, "Who knew we'd have a black son before we knew a Democrat?" So its a warm and humorous story that only softly touches on issues of race. Bullock does a pretty good job as Mrs.Touhy, a no nonsense frosted blond who's used to getting what she wants.

The best part of the movie was the fact that it was shot in and around Atlanta. I got a kick out of trying to recognize local sites. For instance, the front exterior of the school building Oher and the Touhy children attend is my alma mater North Fulton High School, or currently the Atlanta International School. Some scenes were also shot at The Shed in Glenwood Park and the City Grill. The movie is worth the site seeing alone. Opens in theaters nationwide on November 20.

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