I reviewed the 2009 film The Blind Side, directed by John Lee Hancock. The film focuses on the obstacles of a young Black man trying to merge with White society.
Michael Oher, or “Big Mike,” shows how a Black man experiences mistreatment and prejudice in his White community. The film also analyzes the frequent perceptions towards White Americans through the Tuohy family, the family that takes in Michael as their own. The Tuohy family accepts Michael for who he is, unlike those around them. Everyone else is quick to make assumptions, and create misconceptions of him, because he is a Black male. The Tuohys become Michael’s enduring encouragement, armor, and perseverance as he goes through his journey of social acceptance.
From this film, it can be insinuated that the film’s goal is to show the belief of popular culture while highlighting social issues, such as racism, and cultural differences. The film’s main objective is to show Michael gaining social acceptance with the help of the Tuohy family. Since Michael was nine years old, he has lived in foster homes.
Michael is a ward of the state, and is called a “runner,” because he always runs away. He runs, because he feels that he does not fit in, because of his background, and social status. Yet, it is Michael’s uniqueness that leads him to be so popular. When Michael first begins his new life with the Tuohys he distance himself, because of their differences: social circle, race, and lifestyles.
This introduces the conflict of the film as will Michael fit into his new home? With the extreme differences now living under the same roof, can open a gateway of possible internal conflict that might occur as well as the attraction that can happen. Yet, there is little to no conflict inside the Tuohy household, but more conflict from the people within the Tuohy’s social circle. Since Mr. and Mrs.
Tuohy are influential individuals because of their profession, and status, the people around them think the Tuohy’s interest in Michael is bad for their reputation. This is one of the main issues that tends to arise in the film, but the Tuohy’s and Michal ignore what others say, and rise above it. The idea of popular culture emerges in this film in three themes: racism, socialites, and everyone wanting a piece of an upcoming star. Racism is visible on social media, radio, movies, and other forms of media. Majority of the time, these forms of media use stereotyping as a form of racism.
This can explain why people believe these are ideals are acceptable. Stereotypes were used against Michael. The main example of this would be the prejudice he received from his English teacher. His English teacher demonstrates the differences of how a White teacher interacts with a Black student like him. It is a form of stereotype that the media continues to express towards its audience.
Another example of popular culture that is showed in the film is the lifestyle of the socialites. Mrs. Tuohy’s lavish lifestyle is a prime example of this.
She can have anything at her disposal. She can have whatever clothes, food, cars, simply because she has the money. This form of popular culture show how a well-off woman is depicted in movies, and other forms of media. She is perceived as a luxurious woman who can have everything she wants, because she has power, and money.
The repetitive depiction of a wealthy woman in every movie, is that she is not an unhappy individual, but is flawless, confident, and a sophisticated character. Furthermore, the beginning of Michael’s football career is the final form of popular culture. When the football coach, Burt Cotton, sees Michael’s star potential, he does everything he can to get Michael to be accepted as a student at Wingate Christian School. He even calls a board meeting to convince admissions to accept him, despite his very poor, below average academics. This is the start of Michael’s popularity. Everyone wants a piece Michael. Coaches, and owners of universities want him to become a part of their school, despite Michael’s poor academics.
This scenario of a Black male athlete seen as only an asset for sports is common in American culture. People begin to watch Michael, because of his athletic skill, and future potential to play in the NFL. This soon becomes apart of their lifestyle.