The Blind Side Leading the Blind: Better Faith-Based Filmmaking by Living Better Stories

Part of ongoing series:  Hollywood and Higher Education and The Future of Faith-Based Filmmaking

The Blind Side is not so much the story of a Christian family who transformed the life of a homeless teenager as much as it is the story of a homeless teenager who transformed the faith of a Christian family

by Gary David Stratton • Senior Editor

“Wow, I’ve finally met someone who practices but doesn’t preach.” —Sandra Bullock, speaking of Leigh Anne Tuohy, whom Bullock portrayed in her first Oscar-winning performance

blind-side-poster-0In the aftermath of the runaway success of The Blind Side, Hollywood has become more open to Christians’ stories. I don’t mean “Christian” stories, but rather human stories about Christians whose faith has been an element in their facing universal human struggles.

The Blind Side was unlike anything normally accepted by the Church as a “Christian Film.” It is neither an evangelistic message about Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) witnessing about her faith, nor Michael Oher  (Quinton Aaron) coming to faith, nor a missionary appeal for how Christian families should adopt disadvantaged youth, nor a white-washed tale about perfect Christians, living perfect lives, with perfect motives, and everything turning out perfectly.

O, the Humanity!

Sandra Bullock as the highly flawed and genuinely Christian, Leigh Anne Tuohy.

Instead, it is a very human story about a very human woman whose Christian faith informed and motivated a series of radical decisions that transformed her life, her family, and the young man they adopted.  The story is not about her faith, but her faith is clearly part of the story.

This approach works only because The Blind Side wasn’t made like a typical “Christian film.” Although director John Lee Hancock describes himself as a Christian and there are a number of other talented Christians working at Alcon Entertainment who helped guide the project, Hancock made The Blind Side because he thought the story the Tuohys lived was so compelling. Period!

“The fact that the Tuohys are Christians played absolutely no part in me doing it or not doing it…. I mean, let’s be honest, it’s an incredibly charitable act that yields rewards for this family. It would have been an also amazingly charitable act had the Tuohys been atheists. A good deed is a good deed… I thought it was a great story.”

Hancock goes on to explain: “I think that if I set out to do stories based on that (Christianity or even inspiration) then it will probably be like the cart leading the horse… You set out to tell a good story. You don’t do it because there is a deep message involved because the movie is almost always bad when you do that…”[1]

The Future of “Christian” Filmmaking

garydavidstratton-2
Michael Oher is a most unlikely hero in the most unlikely “Christian” film in recent memory.

It is the very humanness of the film that makes it so approachable. Leigh Anne Tuohy is a flawed individual. She is a stubborn control freak, still struggling to stay in control even in the very last scene of the movie.  Yet when motivated by her Christian faith Leigh Anne’s  flaws propel her to make decisions that few other women would even consider.  Her character is complicated (which is why Sandra Bullock won an Academy Award for portraying her), and therefore very compelling. We like her precisely because she represents our highest aspirations and our worst self-sabotaging realities.

Hancock’s approach points toward a compelling future for “Christian” filmmaking in Hollywood — If you live it, they will come (to the theater, that is). Audiences don’t want to watch “Christian” films. They want to see good films about good stories. Compelling stories about real life human beings who overcome tremendous obstacles and who are transformed into better human beings in the process.  (See, Casablanca and the Four Levels of WorldviewCrash Goes the Worldview.)

If the story happens to be about someone whose faith informed and motivated their journey then who’s to argue? Their story earned them the right to let their faith be part of the film. (And opened up the “plausibility structure” for audiences accepting that not all Christians are the preachy, bigoted hypocrites so often portrayed by the media.)

In the end, The Blind Side isn’t so much the story of a Christian family who transformed the life of a homeless teenager so much as it is the story of a homeless teenager who transformed the faith of a Christian family: all because one woman made the radical decision to actually live out her faith.

As Sandra Bullock opined about Leigh Anne and the Tuohy family:

“[S]he has no idea the path she’s begun, in terms of adoption and fostering. It’s not been on the forefront of people’s minds. It is on the forefront of my mind every day now when I get up. When I look around I go, ‘Is he, is she, what is their situation?’ And it’s because of this family, and I think what they are going to do for our country in terms of being aware of that is – I don’t think they realize the profound affect that they are going to have…. [Y]ou see this family, they were themselves for no other benefit other than because they wanted to reach out, lend a hand, and had no idea that they would get a son in return… I said, ‘Wow, I’ve finally met someone who practices but doesn’t preach.’ ” (Italics mine.)[2]

In other words, if Christians actually lived better stories then we might have a litany of heroic stories to draw upon and films to make that real people in real theaters actually want to see and A-list actors want to play. Stories about men and women (and teenagers) whose faith motivated and informed their choices to live remarkable lives by making remarkable decisions and overcome remarkable obstacles.

Living a Better Story

If more Christians actually lived compelling stories then we might have a litany of heroic movies.

Every believer (and not just filmmakers) ought to be asking themselves ‘Am I living the kind of story that, in Donald Miller’s words, “leaves a beautiful feeling even as the credits role”? As Miller discovered in writing his book subtitled How I Learned to Live a Better Story, few Christians are living stories that come remotely close to living out the full implications of their faith.

What story are we writing with our lives? Leigh Anne Tuohy’s story is deeply heroic precisely because her faith motivated her to take action toward the will of God being done on earth as it is in heaven. Will we?

Heaven is looking for heroic stories even more than Hollywood. Will this generation overwhelm the world with stories of very human Christ followers whose faith motivates and informs the heroic lives they live?  The world is watching…

If you live it, they will come!

 

Next post in series: Current Films by Act One Graduates Reveal Strange Dichotomy in Box Office Mojo’s ‘Christian Movie’ Category, by Gary David Stratton

See Also:

Conversations On The Blind Side – Sandra Bullock and Leigh Anne Tuohy Go One-On-One, by Rebecca Murray

Michael Oher and Tuohy Family Celebrate Super Bowl Victory (ABC)

Hollywood and Higher Education, by Gary David Stratton

Why Story Structure Matters: Even if you don’t want it to, by Christopher Riley

Opening Doors for Others: An Interview with Writer-Director Brian Bird, by Gary David Stratton

Christians in Hollywood: A Mission Impossible Writer Offers a Treatment, by Ron Austin

 

Notes:

[1] Interview: ‘The Blind Side’ Director John Lee Hancock, Michelle A. Vu

[2] Bullock Quotations from:  Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw Discuss ‘The Blind Side’ 

99 Replies to “The Blind Side Leading the Blind: Better Faith-Based Filmmaking by Living Better Stories”

  1. The story of the Tuohys was so incredibly inspiring. I learned that everyday, regular suburban people can make a huge impact if they simply step out of the status-quo and into a new life. They lived with intentionality and this impacted them for the better. Just as Miller instructs throughout his book, they lived a life story worth telling. This central idea of our class has challenged me to think beyond the box I have put myself in.

  2. Saving Private Ryan – I had watched this movie years ago and really liked it then. Watching it again and answering the questions on the movie sheet is a completely different experience. I know guys still out there doing that kind of selfless, heroic, honorable, courageous work protecting our country, democracy and peace while sacrificing their lives and families. I deeply respect and appreciate their sacrifices. I’m not sure how anyone can do that without firm belief and faith in something. This movie primarily focuses on the Christian perspective, which I find interesting as it is directed by Steven Spielberg. Throughout the movie, the soldiers are constantly praying and relying on their faith and morals to get them through the gruesomeness of war. As Cpt. John Miller tells Private Ryan at the end, its all about earning your life, so live it with meaning. The soldiers all followed orders, despite risking and losing lives of many, in the process of saving one person. Amazing!

  3. I saw many aspects of my own life in the blind side, as my wife and I adopted her two sisters and brother (15, 14, and 9) during our first vacation together in our early twenties. Learning to swim by jumping off the end of the dock so to speak brings a lot of emotion and instincts to the equation as everything comes at you so fast, but once your head is above water and you can start thinking things through a bit more, the reality of the situation brings much joy.

    Now that all three of them are grown and out of the house, and both girls are married with children, the trials and tribulations, stressful and hard as they were, have allowed me to open my heart in ways that I never imagined.

  4. What a great story (though the part of the coach was a bit cheesy at times). I found it both amazing and inspirational how Michael demonstrated the best qualities that are inside all of us. He suffered through mental abuse, the temptation of drugs, the constant question of where he would lay his head each night, and the threat of street violence… and came out the other side. The movie suggests he was taught to "close his eyes" his entire life to avoid this pain and suffering. I tend to believe there was an unseen force at work in his life that separated him from so many others that simply became a statistic in that environment… a force that kept his spirit unbroken and receptive to the kindness of others. ..a force that kept him attending school, even when he didn't have a home to go to…a force that had a plan for Michael. The movie told a great story, but I believe it’s just one chapter in a life that will prove to be a symbol of hope for many others facing the same challenges that Michael faced. The Touhy's seem to have given Michael a voice during the course of the movie (and his smile), but the words were always on the inside and his plan/story is much bigger than The Blind Side. I still have many questions about my own worldview and faith for that matter, but story's like this one are helping me on my journey.

    1. Michael definitely inspired me through his quiet, unfaltering determination to keep pushing forward. I was able to see some parallels in my own upbringing and it made me think of all those children in the world who have no one to rely on but themselves.

      I love how you put it Earnie – stories like this one are helping me on my own journey. I could not have put it better. I don’t know what my life’s experiences are preparing me for; I just trust God that His plan is even greater than I could have imagined.

  5. What I learned about my own story from “The Blind Side”. This movie is very well done. The Tuohys were very wealthy, and to have involvement in someone else’s life(Big Mike) goes against statistics. I think the difference is the Christian influence. I think this influence makes all the difference in the world. We took in a single mother for a period of time to live with us. I never would have done that without the need being present and God nudging us onward. I was not always fired up about the situation- life tends to happen. In the end I think my kids were affected more then we know. I think Big Mike also had a lasting effect on the Tuoky’s kids as well as Leigh Anne. The humor in this movie was excellent and I think that makes all the difference in real life.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story Jerry. Without knowing all the details, you imply that the experience made your kids stories better…similar to Miller's friend in the book. That is really cool and inspirational. I had never read Miller before, but really liked the language he used to share his story. I think listening to "our writer" when opportunities like these present themselves is key. I have not always done this in the past, but recent experiences (including this class) are making me look (listen) at things different.

    2. That's great Jerry — and you can really relate to this story! Humor is important in real life. Too often I get too serious about life and forget that. You're right though, life tends to happen, so deal with it as best as you can and find something to smile about — easier said than done at times, but I hope to improve that outlook.

  6. Growing up Southern Baptist, I’ve watched my share of “movies with a message.” Without exception, they were horribly made, even if the source story was worth hearing. While Soul Surfer was passable, I did enjoy The Blind Side, even more during my second viewing.

    While Bethany Hamilton’s story demonstrated courage and faith, Leigh Anne Tuohy experienced a greater worldview change. Bethany had every reason to persevere, and had the support of her family, friends and church. Both Michael Oher and Leigh Anne were fighting their central beliefs, their family and friends, and even the NCAA.

    Additionally, The Blind Side depicts the transformation of two people, from two different backgrounds, having their worldviews changed simultaneously to the same view. This is a much richer story than one person changing theirs. This is because, as their worldviews converge, their relationship grows. The best stories involve relationships, especially one that occurs from two people whose background is extremely different, and several beliefs must be addressed and revised.

    1. I like your comment on the Blind Side being a richer story by depicting the transformation of multiple characters. I think it's clear that both Michael and Leigh Anne changed during the movie. In real life, I imagine both Micheal and Bethany's stories will change countless lives. That's what makes movies such as these so important to our society.

    2. Good point about the transformations of two completely different people to the same worldview in the Blind Side. Leigh Anne Tuohy and Michael Oher definitely overcame significant obstacles that strengthened their relationship.

      (I haven't seen Soul Surfer yet).

  7. My family watched this movie some time ago and I did not really have a desire because I saw famous actors names advertised and thought it would be another movie filled with a Hollywood's false sense of reality point of view. Boy was I wrong, thank you so much Gary for assigning The Blind Side. I realized this film was a true story half way through and with delight loved it. I am mostly attracted to films based on some true side of a story and plots that involve faith based point of views. The heroics played out for us to view was so touching and really next door to most of us. It is hard to challenge people who are like Micheal Ohe to accept what God can offer and accept them into our protective bubbles of life we occupy. To take up the cross is exactly what Leigh Ann and her family did, to do it for just anyone takes the power of God in a persons life and the willingness to let go of all our fears and talk from people who do not know God's Kingdom and think how can I help this person when I cannot help myself. That is it, turn our inward mirror's outward, that is what my family and I try to do everyday. If we do not stay close to God, society creeps in and tries to tell us different messages.

  8. The Blind Side was a wonderful faith based film. The film revealed that actions are much more powerful than our thoughts. It took a huge step of faith for Mrs Toughy to invite Michael into her home and an even bigger step to adopt Michael in order to make a bigger impact in his life. Why do we believe in helping others but do not act on our belief? Is it fear or is it our selfish nature and the fact that we may loose some me time if we invest ourselves in others? This movie made me realize that I need to act on my thoughts when compelled to lend a helping hand instead of ignoring them. All to often I see a situation where I could step in a make a difference and hold back because of fear of the outcome or other selfish reasons. This movie has shown me to put more faith and trust in God in order to follow through with my thoughts and desires to help others. Leigh Ann's friends comment how she is changing Michaels life and she comments back that no, Michael is changing her life. I believe that when we help others we are helping ourselves and the rewards are amazing. Our character developes and our worldviews are shaped.

  9. I watched this movie a couple of years and loved it. Watching it again made me love it even more. This movie is heartwarming and shows the true meaning of love without boundaries. This is the kind of movie that leaves you feeling good and shows that there is still hope in this world. It is uplifting and has a solid message to it. The fact that this story is based on real life events shows that there are still some good people out there who are not blinded by the color of someone’s skin. The movie challenged me to open my eyes and see the needs of those around me, put less emphasis on myself and more on others. Love and trust between strangers from 2 very different worlds is totally doable.

    1. I couldn't agree with you more. It also reminds us that we may live in the same city and yet certain parts of he city we have never set foot into, just like in the movie. We are so afraid that we live our whole life and never once know what it's like for those who live in the ghetto. What is like to truly be in a disadvantage. If Micheal Oher never cam across the Tuohy, I wonder would he have gotten the opportunity to become who he is today. Can you imagine how many talent kids who miss the opportunity just because they were born to the wrong family or in poverty.

  10. What I learned about my own story from "The Blind Side" — I can relate to a lot of Leigh Anne Tuohy's feelings as portrayed in the movie. Long before I was married and thinking of starting a family, I had the idea that I would like to adopt a child in addition to biological children. Little did I know that would be my only actual method of becoming a mom. I have two beautiful sons, both adopted internationally as infants. I had the opportunity to learn their stories and witness the poverty and bleak lives they might otherwise experience without adoption. Some people might view my boys as being lucky to have been adopted. But I believe it is quite the opposite in that I AM LUCKY to have been blessed to be their mom! They have forever enriched my life and filled it with love. I don't take them for granted. It was a very long and emotional road to motherhood for me, full of obstacles. In this respect, I think I understand Leigh Anne's maternal instinct to love Michael Oher unconditionally and through the obstacles they faced. It really doesn't matter how your children come to be, love is love!

    1. I loved your story, Belinda. We’re looking at adoption right now. My wife is wrestling with the idea that she would be raising “someone else’s child.” I’m trying to (gently) show her that while others would look at the outside (such as the child’s race), how the child looks on the inside would resemble us.

    2. I just LOVE your story Belinda and it really inspires me to realize the whole story of adoption and the blessing that it produces for all involved. You definitely have lived a story worth telling!

  11. "And opened up the “plausibility structure” for audiences accepting that not all Christians are the preachy, bigoted hypocrites so often portrayed by the media." (Stratton).
    I like movies that are unapologetically Christian, not that kind of Christian that points fingers at sinners. But more, the characters are "out" as Christians, without any real violence or profanity, and a box office success. This movie speaks to the innate gift we all have in us to do good things. God speaks to us on behalf of other people. I am grateful for the Tuohy's obedience and heart to reach out to a child in need. I am also grateful for Micheal's heart and his openness to accept his new family. In taking a chance on this family, he allowed God to write a better story for him. Donald Miller says God writes our story like an author writes words on a page.

  12. I did some research on the the real Michael Oher. What an amazing story. Michael definitely beat the odds. He has a couple of books out that need to be read. Michael was a smart fellow. He did not have to be taught how to play football. Hats off to the Tuohys but Michael had a large amount of people that helped him on his journey. There are a couple of lessons to be learned here. One, we must all do our part in helping one another when the time presents itself and two, it pays to surround ourselves with people who love us for who we are and with people who gives us support. Pick good friends. Mrs. Tuohy was not perfect but she was awesome doing her part. I loved the opening of the movie when Michael's friends dad helps to enroll not only his son but Big Mike at Wingate Christian school. He was another good person helping in the right place at the right time.

    1. Very true! You do have to watch who you are friends with and try to pick good friends. You can learn alot from other people you hang out with. You can see how Michael also changed when he went back to the old neighborhood after his argument withe Leigh Anne. It does make you feel better, and change your story when you are able to change someone elses story.

    2. Bob,
      I did a little bit of research too. After watching the movie, I wanted to know more about Michael Oher and the Tuohys. I too believe God places people along our journey to help us along the way

    3. True gift is when it's given without expectation. Both the friend's dad in the beginning and Mrs. Tuohy wanted nothing except just to help someone they see in need. To give Micheal Oher a chance. The amazing thing is Micheal is not a small kid, most who considered helping him would only be like a handout not taking him into their life. The risk was huge and can be scary yet it seems Mrs. Tuohy did not think about any of that. My point is that sometime we over analyze the situation when we should have lend a hand.

  13. This was a great movie. It is very touching to see that there are people out there that are willing to hlep others. Alhough many of us are unable to take someone in and adopt them, there are still other ways to help. I also thought it was nice to see that the teachers were willing to modify their teachings to help Michael learn affectively. I believe that this type of behavior helps grow stronger children and helps them to see the good in people and how they can better their lives. Without someone there to help initiate the "good" story, they may never be able to realize how inspirational they can be. I learned that it is just a rewarding to help someone as it is to be helped. Michael helped Leigh Ann, as much as Leigh Ann helped Michael.

    1. Shawna, I liked your focus on the teachers who made a difference in Michael's learning experiences. It was interesting to see that some of the teachers were potentially a negative influence–looking at his educational situation as impossible to overcome; yet others dug down deep to understand him as a person and student and utilized their gifts to draw him out to his full potential. I was so glad to see they didn't give up on him–and that he was successful in the long run. I can't help but wonder if, as Christ-followers, we are called to "walk alongside" others in a similar fashion–with love, tenacity, advocacy, and determination to support and encourage them to their full potential. What a transformational gift that might be–and though it may not be easy or without challenges, I think that it would be a blessing over time. (I also was touched by Michael's yielding to the process of "being helped" and encouraged–since that is not always easy either)

    2. You are right Shawna, there are many other ways to reach out to people in needs but we sadly often get caught up in our own lives that we forget to make time for people that needs us.

    3. Most Americans aren’t willing to allow themselves to be changed by that kind of process. I had an opportunity to take care of a special needs child who was terminally ill, and “walk them home.” As heartbreaking as the situation was, as I submitted myself to that process, I found more and more that I was taking care of Jesus, and drew joy from that.

  14. Great movie, it really demonstrated Millers points that people dont see thoughts they see actions, and we need to start living a good story instead of writng or thinking about one. Leigh ann took action and that was what made this story possible. By taking Micheal into their home everyone benifited in some way or another. The only part of the movie that was disappointing was when Oher got drafted 23 in the first round of the NFL draft. The Vikings could have had him with the 22 pick, but Harvin is pretty good too when healthy

    1. It is easy to talk the talk, but to actually walk the walk and live for what you believe in makes you a strong individual. I agree that Michael was so smart, he just needed someone to believe in him. The whole family helped to give him the strength to succeed.

      Vikings definitely could have benefited from having Michael on their team.

    2. Millers book has made a great impact on my life, I'm obsessed with living a good story, actually an epic story. This movie highlights the impact a person can have on another person's life by just showing up and reaching out. It would have been easy to buy him a coat, give him some meal coupons to their restaurants and drive away, feeling good about their "good deed". What makes someone take the next step?

  15. I appreciated this movie so much in addition to the Donald Miller readings both rang true to get involved, do something. Miller's bike ride across America Leigh Ann took in a child that was not her's. I admire LeighAnn as she is a Christian, but is so because of her actions and her willingness to help. She backs up her faith by her actions. As state above "a good deed is a good deed".

    1. We do need the action. As Miller states you must have a plan and follow through in order to change our story, plan a good story and work towards it. "To accomplish great things, Dream, we must dream as well as act." Anatole France

    2. I think that is what we tend to forget about a good deed is a good deed. Our faith should be live out to show love and care for others. Sometimes as Christians, we get too caught up in what others would think of us and we lack the wiliness to show love. Sometimes we let the non-Christians lead the way in this role.

  16. This move reminds me what it really means to truly love your neighbor as yourself. I believe this is what Jesus meant when he commanded us to do so. Michael Oher made mistakes during his time with the family yet they never looked down on him or blame him for anything. Some of these issue, for some family they would have let him go and want nothing more to do with him. The Tuohy family cared for him and loved him as one of their own. Through this they also grew closer together. Giving definitely has a greater return in investment when we give totally from the heart. This is a great movie.

    1. I can't agree more, the only reward should be the love they all grew to share with each other. This definitely had me thinking of how I can make a difference and get my children to be inspired as well.

      1. Children are like sponges and if they see their parents helping others they will more than likely follow in the their parents footsteps. Making Christ the center of a home is the first step and the second is getting the whole family involved in activities that involve helping other.

    2. Hello Chong,
      Yours words are so true. Jesus commands us to love one another. What touched me the most was the simple things about Mike that moved Mrs. Tuohy, like Mike eating at the table and Mike telling her he never had a bed of his own. We must not let ourselves fall into the trap of forgetting to appreciate what the Lord has blessed us with. We have a tendency to take too many things for granted. When we do we become less reactive to other people’s needs. I believe having Mike around made Mrs. Tuohy remember how things should be and maybe once was and not let things stay the way they had become. We all can learn from one another and love,bringing us closer together, lets that happen. I think this movie is great also.

      1. Bob, I too, was so touched with the interactions between Michael and Mrs. Tuohy. For sure, it is so important to "remember our blessings" and the gifts the Lord has blessed us with. Thank you for the reminder–and how we should also appreciate the opportunity to learn from one another. I thought it was very interesting to see how the character, Michael, was "blessed with a 98% on his protective instincts", which must have set the course for his worldviews–yet as his story unfolded, he softened and let others come alongside and be in that role for him. This seemed to change the relationships he had with the Tuohy's as well as others who played a part in his growth and development. What an interesting example of transformation!

    3. Chong,
      I agree with your comment..
      Giving definitely has a greater return in investment when we give totally from the heart. I think it's the purity of it, pure motives, looking out for someone else, not expecting anything in return, this is when God pours out His blessings.

    4. This movie was powerful and yes the Touhy's didn't give up on Michael but rather supported him and helped him through his mistakes and obstacles. This confirmes that Leigh Ann's act of kindness were truly from the heart. Jesus does command us to love our neighbors as ourselves and also instructs us to help those in need.

  17. Blind side is definately a feel good movie and true which makes it even more inspirational. There were many hero's in this story, of course Leighann because she was certainly the driving force behind the story but her entire family accepted the change and were better for it. Of course Michael is my hero, because he overcame so many barriors and really was a gentle giant born black and he was just trying to find a better story. How difficult it must of been to keep going to school when he didn't have a home, money or food to eat. It is wonderful to see a great story that shows wonderful successful Christain people that truly lived the word, great story.

    1. This was inspiring that despite all odds Michael did not lose himself to drugs, gangs, the temptations of his neighborhood. Even though his mother was an addict, somewhere she must have imparted something to MIchael to be "good". I have to wonder what made Michael stay true? He must have had hope that things would change. They certainly did and what a journey he has had. God has to be here on Earth for that to happen.

      1. One of my friends of 20 years now came from a family that was heavy into the drug scene. Despite being from this background he hasnt even touched a cigarette in his life. I think that some people just have the ability to recognize what direction drugs and alcohol lead to in a life story, even at young age. Its good to see kids make it out of that environment.

    2. Deb –

      Michael was my hero too. He was the type of kid that was so appreciative of everything the Tuohy's did for him. He did overcome so many barriers and rose to the top in spite of it all. Michael had many inciting events and it made him a better person. Thanks to the Tuohy family for making it happen.

    3. I also find it so nice to see the children also change their story along with Leigh Ann. It was difficult initially for their daughter to associate with Michael, but she made a true impression when she went to study with him at home, and acknowledged him as her family. It takes a good Christian family to keep strong through this transition. This was as you said a great story.

    4. I like your comment about him going to school. The movie almost mentions it as an aside, but I found it amazing that he continued to attend school in light of his situation. It is humbling to consider that challenges that so many people on the planet face every day to educate themselves, and how easily some of us take the opportunity we have for granted. What’s sad to me is that the system just pushed him through for so long, with no consideration for him as a person. Michael could have easily skipped out, but he persevered and was fortunate to come into contact with those individual teachers who took an interest in him.

      1. I agree with your comment about nobody recognizing Michael as a person. I think that makes the moment when Michael is able to say out loud what *he* wants to do (attend University of Mississippi) so poignant. The Tuohys gave him a better story to tell, and he finally developed the courage to believe that this new story was true, and believed it enough to state that he was apart of it.

  18. The Blind Side is a powerfully endearing story that everyone should see at some point in their lives. It's an inspiring story of "real" people making a profound difference in one mans life. The difference they make changes the mans life and enables him to be something greater than he could have ever imagined. It's only through the Toughy family's love and grace that Michael is able to succeed. What I learned about my own story from watching this movie is that one person/family can make a difference. I need to get more involved in volunteering my time and energy to others and stop living such a selfish life.

    1. I liked the part in the movie when Leigh ann says something to the point of im not changing him he is changing me. The relationship was life changing for all of them.

      1. Richard, The aspect of "being changed" which results from living life as a "change-agent" is really true. I think that even though the experience for Leigh Ann did not begin with that end in mind–as she just showed compassion for a young man who needed a place to stay–it was obvious that here life was transformed. The lives of her family members and friends were also changed. I'd like to think that something similar might happen in my life if I would take a risk to get involved with reaching out more, or even serving with an organization which met the needs of homeless or those facing difficulty in life. While I obviously do not have the wealth of resources the Tuohy family had, just taking a step to say I am willing/available to serve with time or talent might be transformational. Much to think about…

    2. Tricia –

      I agree with you that probably everyone of us need to be less selfish and reach out and touch someone's life in a special way. The Lord knows there are hundreds of people that need to be cared for in a real way. It really touched my heart watching the movie. I, too, need to volunteer more in my community.

    3. So true, that one person/one family can clearly make a difference. We can all make a difference especially with our time. A great real life measurable example is to volunteer at "Feed my Starving Children". When you finish a shift you know exactly how many people you have helped to feed and you always finish feeling really good about spending a little time for others. I believe this world is a better place because of people like the Toughys.

      1. Time is huge, sometimes it is just a few seconds of our time that makes a difference in a persons life. I simply smiled and said hello to someone and they emailed me and told me what a difference I had made in their day. The individual went on to tell me that they were really having a difficult day.

    4. Tricia,

      I appreciated your statement that "one person/family can make a difference". That is so true–and hopefully we all might be more open to reaching out or taking a risk after seeing "The Blind Side". I so appreciated the example of being available and willing to be used by God that the Tuohy family portrayed. May we be that "one person" who changes the life of someone we meet along the path of life…

    5. I agree, this film made me realize I need to get on board and start investing more of my time in the lives of others. Our world has so many people in need and God has shown me that part of my life purpose is to make a difference in the lives of others for His name sake.

  19. So the Blind Side is still one of my favorite Christian movies to date. The story it tells is very spiritual. Mrs. Tuohy is the kind of role-model all Christians need to be more like. Now I’m not saying that I want to rush right out and adopt a kid or anything, but I think the basis behind what she did was how we should live our lives. We all face obstacles’ in our life that keep us down and the demons fight us every step of the way, but that is when we need to reach to God and bring those problems to Him.

    1. Troy,
      This is so true about a role model of a Christian. We need to go above average in doing all that we can to stand strong with Christ regardless of the worldview of many; especially to those that have nothing positive to say about Christians. For we know that the love of Christ overcomes all.

    2. I agree that we need more Mrs. Tuohy's in this world. I think each one of us was created by God to do significant things using our own gifts and talents. Some of us go through life entertaining ourselves and ignoring the gifts we have when we could be making such a huge difference in others lives – like Mrs. Tuohy. This movie reminds me that I need to watch for opportunities to exercise my gifts and talents before it's too late.

    3. Troy –

      I loved the Blind Side movie also. The story behind the movie was phenomenal. I totally agree that we need to bring our problems to God and not depend on our own. Leigh Ann was definitely a Godly role model for Michael and others. It is great to faith based movies in the theatre.

    4. Hello Troy,
      Mrs. Tuohy responded and did things because they were the right things to do, not because it made her feel good when she did them. If we focused on doing things for the right reasons we would probably help more often. If we are to let God work through us we must forget about ourselves and focus on the task at hand, sometimes easier said than done. I soundly agree with you when you say that Mrs. Tuohy is an awesome Christian role-model. Thanks for writing.

  20. Wow! I thought everything happened so fast. Not knowing anything about a person not even the name, and yet offered them a home. I gave her the platform of a courageous woman. But above all I've seen the power of God worked in a blink of an eye. This woman was motivated by the power and love of God. She went beyond all aspects of physicalism to embrace her idealistic view of life. How inspiring! It takes only one person to take the lead and make that difference in a person's life. As a Christian when we seek Christ and make Him the center of our life, this becomes a normal lifestyle for us. Because all that is good and perfect comes from Him. We may not know that we could have done such a thing, but we'll wake up one morning and all will be done in a blink of an eye. That's the work of God.

    1. I like how you stated "she went beyond all aspects of physicalism to embrace her idealistic view of life" as when we first get to know Leigh Ann Toughy, she seems to be somewhat cold and hardened. She seems to be concerned with dressing right and having the right "things". But, as the movie progresses, we get to see her heart in bits and pieces and then in a huge way when she invites Michael to stay in the families home. Leigh Ann is a great model of how to live out your faith instead of just talking about it.

      1. I actually thought she was a woman who was sure of herself. She was successful but I interpreted that as a healthy work ethic along with her husband. What I applauded was her courage to step outside of her expected social image to take Michael in despite consequences, such as the loss of friends, and the comments her children were getting at school. I thought the movie showed the growth of her children as well. Neither of them came to her with complaints, they grew too.

    2. Ronelle, Your comments about Leigh Ann Tuohy were encouraging. Particularly, I appreciated your insight that she was "motivated by the power and love of God". I can't help but wonder how different life might be if we followed her role model–living in the power and love of God–which would in turn pour out for the benefit of others. I so appreciated her compassion and perseverance, despite the difficulties which she and her family faced as a result of taking in Michael. It seems that they all were blessed by this experience. Not that she did any of it for a reward or honor–but that was the ultimate blessing–since their lives were changed and enriched.
      (I admit to wondering if I could give up my guest room/office for a long-time guest!)

    3. Ronelle,
      Yes very courageous and most important God did it through them. I was thinking of that as I watched this film how He put the people where He wanted them and showed them what He wanted to show them at His time. I liked the teachers patient and faith in themselves as teachers to take the extra time and work with Michael. I bet teachers everyday pass students that they think take too much of their time. I do not blame the teachers (working as a teachers aid in the past) because they are under such time restrictions and the number of students is overwhelming. I wish the school districts would watch movies and make changes since this is a true story. How can this go on that students get passed through the system. Well Ronney, our job as Christian Ministry students will be laid out for us.

  21. I loved that movie. The message was loud and clear and it takes someone special to take in someone off the street. How many of us today would take someone in they saw walking down the street such as a homeless person? Many of us would turn our heads. It makes me so happy that a movie like this was showed in the theater about a human story of a human woman whose Christian faith motivated her to make the decisions she did that transformed her life, her family and the young man they adopted. This movie made me stop and think about all the young people in our world that need someone to love them and show they care. I asked myself, Lord are you telling me to get involved with a program such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

    1. Hi Linda,
      It would be a blessing to be that person who will do such a thing. Transforming a person's life strengthens our faith as Christians. Stepping out of our comfort zone and doing things that are right in the sight of our Creator changes the worldview on how others see things. The difference that it would make in a person's life will be the key.

    2. You'd be such a gret Big Sister! I agree that it's easy for us to turn our heads on people that need our help. We all just easily pass by and go about our selfish lives. It's easy for us to sleep in our comfortable beds, stop at the coffee shop for our regular coffee treat, and shop easily and readily for any groceries we need. We need to stop and think a lot more about how we can sacrifice our time and resources to give to others.

    3. I would encourage you to do that you would be suprised on how little of your time could make a huge impact in a childs life.

    4. This story is an amazing story and a good example of how a worldview can change. My favorite part was when Leighann was having lunch with her friends and their bias was quite obvious and they were asking questions like aren't you afraid for your daughter or what would your father say, and Leighann (Sandra) said it was her that changed and walked out.

      1. Hey Deb, your old Cohort buddy Amy here. Love to read your thoughts again after all this time.
        Yes I agree, both lunch scenes play into the change everyone was going through. It is hard to listen to people who are Blind sided and hard not to listen when they are your world view. I think it is important to keep our worldview rooted in Christ and the Bible and letting the church be a buffer for some of our judgments and concerns.

    5. My brother is a big brother to an 11 year – old boy and he truly loves it. He told me that doing this makes him feel good about life. Anyway, this movie is a great eye-opener to all of us and definitely affected my worldview.

    6. I think we all need to come to a place in our relationship with God and ask of Him what and how he would like to use us as an instrument for HIm. I believe if we ask Him he will tell or show us what and where he can use us. We just have to be open to hearing Him and trusting in Him. When we are intune with God he hears us and will open many doors for us to help and make a difference in the lives of others. I think as Christians we are all agents put on this earth to help recruit others to Christ through our acts of kindness.

    7. Linda,
      Nice to see your name again. This is Amy and I too am glad that this movie turned out for a selection in Red Box. It is a great example for our youth and people who do not know how to start to get involved with people with real problems and suffering and can witness it through this families story of great courage and faith. I did not know this was a true story until half way through movie. I just loved it and am a big cheerleader for any movies today that have a faith based reaction to grief and suffering in this world leaving it all up to our wonderful creator God.

  22. Call your parents if you are so lucky to still have them amoungst us, not because you need anything, but just "because" you want to hear their voice. Help a neighbor if they need it. Walk your dog instead of letting him outside on his own. There is so much we can do to help othersthat does not require any financial output which will ultimately help ourselves. We have the inate ability to love, how lucky are we!

    1. Hi Jeannie,
      Some kids just don't realize how blessed they are to have parents who care for them. Eventhough the kid (Micheal) was in and out of foster homes, he would always leave to find his mom. He really loved her. But because of her lifestyle, she could not take care of him; there was a bond between them. Again, as Christians we should always be ready with open arms to be there for someone when nobody else can. If we are doing it for the right reasons, God will always come through. The grace of God will empower us to do all things.

    2. Hi Jeannie,
      My wife and I stop and pick up an elderly couple and take them to church. They are very good friends of ours. We appreciate each others company and fellowship. Claire can no longer see well enough to drive. Mary does not drive either. So every Sunday we see to it they get to church. We also take them shopping and hang out together. Our relationship doesn't cost us a dime. It is priceless. Mary insists on treating us like one of her kids and I call he Mom. Love is a gift from God.

  23. The Tuohy's have lived a life that most would like to be able to call their own. Many people will also say that they cannot help others because they are not "wealthy" from a financial standpoint. Dollars have very little to do with helping others. Listening is one of the biggests gifts that one can give another. Validate someone and let them know you like them for who they are, not who you want them to be. Have dinner together as a family, sit at the table and let your kids know they are worth making a dinner and sitting at the table for. What they have to say is so much more important than anything one would watch at dinner time.

    1. I like this very much Jeannie! I am a firm believer in that the little things in life count, because they really aren't as little as we think. Basic genuine kindness goes a long way!

    2. I like your statement that money have very little to do with helping others. This is definitely true but sadly we often feel that only the weathly should help out the poor. I also like your list of many ways of reaching out.

    3. Excellent point Jeannie! We often hold ourselves back by excusing our non-action away with reasons like lack of money or time. If God has put a passion in your heart I truly believe that He will supply your every need. Just go for it and see what happens! 🙂

  24. VIa Facebook

    This should be the same no matter if its a faith based film or a just a normal film…

    1. Via Facebook

      I completely agree! I'm just trying to get people OUTSIDE of Hollywood to understand what is going on and why it is important to support films that don't 'preach the gospel' and have an altar call at the end. Whoever tells the best stories shapes the world!

      1. Via Facebook

        Read it up till almost your semi-review (you didn't post any spoilers)… one of the things that I was struggling with on the script I'm currently in my rewrites on… just kidding but you should have posted this a month or two ago… when I finally decided to write the film I wanted to write instead of trying to please a certain audience… this would be my second faith based script… but on this one… didn't want to preach to the choir…

        1. Via Facebook

          I've found that if you preach to the choir, not even the choir listens very carefully–they've heard it all before. I would say, don't EVER write a "faith-based' screenplay. Be a faith-centered screenwriter and then write the very best stories you can find. Your faith will guide and inform your screenwriting in ways you could never imagine.. if you don't force it.

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