Monday, March 15, 2010

Movies: The Blind Side

Watching the Academy Awards with friends, I was furious when Sandra Bullock won for Best Actress. I hadn't seen The Blind Side, but it didn't matter. How could the woman who had a year ago starred in the travesty called The Proposal suddenly be a serious enough actress to even be considered for an award? I so vociferously objected that I offended my friends who had seen and enjoyed the movie. And so, I was thrilled that Air New Zealand was offering me the opportunity to watch this movie while trapped in an economy seat, somewhere over the Pacific ocean, three hours into a fourteen hour flight, and judge for myself a performance that I wouldn't have been willing to watch under any other circumstance (it was on a trans-Pacific flight that I subjected myself to The Proposal as well, if that's of any significance).

Now that I've seen the film, I fully reserve my right to criticize not only Sandra Bullock (who musters a believable Southern accent, but faced no real challenge other than that in the role), but the entire project, a rags-to-riches fable that celebrates a rich white family for taking in a poor black teenager, and training him to become a pro-football star. True story; very nice.

I'll admit it's good to see Christianity presented responsibly (for our heroine mentions her prayer group, and when meeting her adopted son's crack-addicted mother, who says, "Well, ain't you a good Christian lady. . .", she responds, "Well, I try to be.") Though Christ's message demands a kind of radicalism even more extreme than our heroine's actions, given her community and her lifestyle, this is more than a tentative baby-step, and a horse pill for America's religious right to swallow. That said, for a more evolved audience*, the film is false, cloying, and has the feel of a made-for-tv movie on the Hallmark channel: good family values, tear-jerking moments, and an uplifting message (so long as you don't scrutinize it to carefully).

*Apologies for being such a self-righteous yankee, folks.

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