The Blind Side Movie Review: The Struggles of an African American Teenager

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The movie that I chose for this assignment was The Blind Side directed by John Lee Hancock. This film is based on a true story about an African American teenager, Michael Oher, who was a part of the low-class society, having little to no money and no place to live. He did not know who his father was and was taken away from his mother at a young age.

Moreover, Michael was denied a proper education. He struggled to remain at a school for a long period of time, as he had very little education and lacked skills to help him learn and succeed. His teachers did not have much faith in him and typically gave him a grade so that he could pass, but not a good enough grade to allow him to flourish and remain at that school. He lacked records in the school system, had a GPA of 0.6 and his ability to learn was in the 5th percentile. His teachers argued, ‘I don’t think he has any idea about what I am teaching. He won’t speak and barely knows how to spell his name.’ There was a fine line of opportunity for Michael to succeed and a lack of support from the individuals that were occupying his life at the time. Despite the lack of faith that his teachers had in him, some people saw Michael in a different light, especially Leigh Anne Tuohy.

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Michael was taken in by the Tuohy’s, a white family, in Tennessee. Leigh Anne, on a ride home from high school, instructed her husband to pull over the car to the sidewalk where Michael was walking. She noticed what he was wearing, the look on his face, and immediately concluded that this boy had no direction and nowhere to go. Initially, Leigh Anne invited and insisted that Michael come to stay in their home so that he could have food to eat and a place to sleep. This action repeatedly occurred week after week, and over time, the bond between Michael and the family grew and he was soon to be considered family. The Tuohy’s brought Michael into their family with open arms. Not only did they give Michael a home, but they also gave him a chance to succeed and flourish in his new environment.

Before entering the Tuohy family, Michael did not have much. He was a black teenage boy, who came from a poor background, both educationally and physically, living in a small space with his sick mother and brother. He did not have any money, which limited his possessions of clothing and food. The Touhy’s were able to provide him with all of it and more. Leigh Anne took Michael shopping, provided him with food and shelter, and even bought him a car when he got his license. When Leigh Anne showed Michael to his new room, with a bed and all, Michael was stunned as he argued, “I never had one of these before.” Moreover, when they went to the Big and Tall shop, a clothing store for plus size individuals, Leigh Anne allowed him to purchase whatever he desired and stood up to the salesperson when he made a judgmental comment about Michael’s size. She was never afraid or hesitant to stand up for her ‘son.’ She did not request approval or acceptance from her friends or anyone in the town, but she did ask for respect. She was passionate about motivating Michael to be all that he could and pushing him to his full potential.

Leigh Anne was the best kind of teacher. She accepted the situation for how it was, considering Michael’s background, and going above and beyond to make sure that he accomplished his goals. Although there was a difference in the social class that Michael and Leigh Anne possessed, it was not evident or detrimental to how Leigh Anne continued to raise her son. She did not let the fact that they are an affluent white family change her perspective of Michael. She felt so compelled to help Michael and was empowered by him and his story. Leigh Anne took advantage of her status in society, as a wealthy, educated, white woman and made sure to give Michael the life that he deserved and the life that she saw in him. She embodied the attributes that individuals want to see in teachers: respect, patience, and ability to succeed. She projected these qualities on Michael, as she never gave up on him and pushed him beyond his limits while giving him the time to do so. Leigh Anne looked at Michael as an individual, not a black, low-income, individual. She did not treat him any different than she treated her biological kids. She respected that he was hesitant to open up, had patience when teaching him manners and social skills, and always knew that he was able to succeed, despite his background and previous knowledge.

She strived for Michael to be prosperous and social, enjoying his new life, while being comfortable and secure. It is evident that she as a teacher, as well as an influencer, was effective and respected. Michael turned out to be successful in both his educational career and football career, receiving a scholarship to the school of his choice. To get there, Leigh Anne had to be assertive, consistent, and positive throughout the whole process. Leigh Anne served as a mother figure for Michael, as well as an educator, as she taught him the ropes of how to be successful in his new atmosphere.

Leigh Anne was Michael’s biggest advocate. She saw something in him and envisioned what he could be and where he could end up. She did not only see him as a young black boy but one that has the potential to succeed in all aspects of his life. Leigh Anne made it her job and responsibility to open up doors for Michael, providing him with a vast amount of opportunity, in both his education and his passion for football, and supporting him throughout his entire career as a student and as a player. Leigh Anne embodies every characteristic that holds true to compassion. She is outstandingly caring and has a passion to help Michael succeed. It is Leigh Anne’s drive and passion that she saw in Michael that allowed him to flourish and accomplish all that he did and become the brave, courageous, independent individual that he turned out to be.

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