Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"The Blind Side": A Christian Movie?

I recently read an article in The Washington Post that talked about the recent releases of movies with a spiritual side. It gave The Blind Side a rave review, so recently, when my mom and I were trying to decide what to see, we decided to give it a try.

I was a little nervous, because I worried it would be that kind of self-righteous religious movie that makes me want to puke. It wasn't. I worried that it would focus too much on the football, but it didn't. In short, it was a delight.

I've spent the Christmas season watching movies (Up in the Air, It's Complicated) that seem to stress that we're all alone out here, incapable of changing the behaviours that make us lonely. I was ready for a change. The Blind Side is that change.

In some ways, for a spiritual/religious/Christian movie, it's remarkably understated. There are many places where the movie could have gotten preachy, but it didn't. In fact, the only time the main character (played by Sandra Bullock, in what may be her most fabulous role yet) is overt about her faith is when she verbally faces off with a drug dealer. She tells him that she's in a prayer group with the D.A. and that she's also a Republican and a member of the N.R.A., and she's always packing heat. Some people may see all of these traits as being a contradiction to being a Christian, but I found them remarkably realistic. I've lived in many parts of the U.S. South, and I've known many women like the main character. My non-Southern friends might accuse them of hypocrisy, but I don't see them that way.

In fact, the main characters do a remarkable job of living out their Christian values as they take in a destitute student and help him turn his life around. It's the kind of depiction that makes me hopeful for humanity and keenly aware of all the ways I could be doing more to help out my fellow humans.

The movie was heartwarming without being too schmaltzy, both funny and tensely dramatic, an incisive social critique of all the strata of society, and a true story, so that it all seemed that much more wonderful. Movies released this time of year can be awfully grim and serious (all the better to win awards?), so an uplifting movie is that much more a treat.

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