The success of a person is based on a number of things. Dedication, determination, drive, focus and the necessary provisons. However, there are some of us who achieve success because of the people we know or simply by good luck. Being in the right place at the right time or genuinely striving for excellence, success is accessable to all. In the movie The Blind Side, success is portrayed to be accessible by simply knowing the right people. The Blind Side is a 2009 American semi-biographical drama film. It is written and directed by John Lee Hancock, and based on the 2006 book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis.
The storyline features Michael Oher, an offensive lineman who plays for the Baltimore Ravens of the NFL. The film follows Oher from his impoverished upbringing, through his years at Wingate Christian School, which was a fictional representation of Briarcrest Christian School in the suburbs of Memphis, Tennessee. His struggle, challenges and adoption by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy and on to his position as one of the most highly coveted prospects in college football are all brought to life in the film. For most of his childhood, 17year old Michael Oher has been in foster care with different families throughout Memphis, Tennessee.
Every time he is placed in a new home, he runs away. His friend’s father, whose couch Mike had been sleeping on, asks Burt Cotton, the coach of Wingate Christian school, to help enroll his son and Mike. Impressed by Mike’s size and athleticism, Cotton gets him admitted despite his abysmal academic record. It was at this school Michael met his destiny. Many themes are portrayed in this movie. Poverty in The United States, Crack addiction, imporvished children, racism, favoritsim and biracial families and imporvished children are all seen throughout the movie.
Michael Oher was born on May 28, 1986, in Memphis, Tennessee. He came from a broken home and his estranged father was murdered while Oher was in high school. Being raised by his crack addicted mother, Michael was exposed to extreme poverty at a very early age. Poverty is defined as a state of privation and a lack of necessities. It is also defined as the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions. In this movie, poverty was a central theme. Michael was seen carrying his books in a plastic bag, wearing the same clothes repeatedly and not having a real home to sleep in.
People that are considered poor or in poverty are people who cannot provide sufficient food, clothing or shelter for their families. Although there are far worst cases of poverty around the world, in the United States people who either have one working parent or parents who work for minimum wage are considered poor. Even people do have food, clothing, shelter, and make more than minimum wage but can’t afford luxury are people who are considered poor. Poverty is a major issue in the US. It is something that the country has been trying to solve for decades.
Poverty tends to exist in concentrated areas city slums, county areas and trailer parks. Poor people are stuck living with other poor people, hence the case with Michael before he enrolled in school. One of the reasons why it’s hard for these people to get out of poverty is because there are so little jobs available to them in their area because of the high concentration of other poor people around them. People in poverty might not be able to travel outside of their local community and find work elsewhere. Hence Michael’s situation. In an effort to lessen poverty, the government offers many social programs and aid to the poor.
Medicaid, welfare, food stamps and foster care for the children affected most. Although these programs really help people to get of poverty, it’s not to keep them out. Most people fall back into poverty after getting out. Michael was known to be in and out of many foster homes throughout his childhood. Poverty in downtown Memphis was excellently portrayed in the movies. The ‘ghetto’ areas where those of color resided was brought to life in the film. The struggle was made clear throughout the whole movie. The blind side also touched bases on crack addiction and the affects of it on the user and those around them.
A prime example was that of Michael and his mother. Michael Oher’s mother was addicted to crack cocaine for quite sometime and it affected Michael and his other simblings tramendously. Him and his siblings were seperated through his early teen years due to the fact that he was forced to be placed in foster homes because of his absent mother who was a crack addict. Crack cocaine is the freebase form of cocaine that can be smoked. It may also be termed rock, hard, iron, cavvy, base, or just crack; it is the most addictive form of cocaine. Crack rocks offer a short but intense high to smokers.
Crack appeared primarily in impoverished inner-city neighborhoods in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami. The name “crack” refers to the sound generated during its manufacture and when smoked. Crack cocaine is a substance that affects the brain chemistry of the user causing euphoria, supreme confidence, loss of appetite, insomnia, alertness, increased energy, a craving for more cocaine, and potential paranoia. When cocaine is dissolved and injected, the absorption into the bloodstream is at least as rapid as the absorption of the drug which occurs when crack cocaine is smoked, and similar euphoria may be experienced.
A typical response among users is to have another hit of the drug; however, the levels of dopamine in the brain take a long time to replenish themselves, and each hit taken in rapid succession leads to progressively less intense highs. The short-term physiological effects of cocaine include constricted blood vessels, dilated pupils, and increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Large amounts intensify the user’s high, but may also lead to bizarre, erratic, and violent behavior. Large amounts can induce tremors, vertigo, muscle twitches, paranoia, or, with repeated doses, a toxic reaction closely resembling amphetamine poisoning.
Some users of cocaine report feelings of restlessness, irritability, and anxiety. In the movie, Michaels mother faced many of these issues. The concept of a crack head mother may have struck a cord with many views, as it is a sensitive and serious topic for many people with that same problem. His mother, a crack cocaine addict for most of her life, remained on the opposite path. A tragic side to this story, however in life, one has to accept that everyone cannot be saved, and focus on saving the ones you can. Which are usually the ones who are ready to save themselves and just need the help to give them that shot.
In addition to poverty and cocaine addictions, racism was also a major theme in the movie . A rich white family really did adopt Michael Oher, a homeless black teenager, and eventually, he became an NFL star. In the real world, that’s very moving. It is sometimes the reality that white families adopt, raise and even “save” black children from sometimes dire conditions. There was one scene in the movie that almost tapped this rich potential for storytelling, and it was when Sandra Bullock’s character, Leigh Anne Touhy, confronts her lady friends at lunch about their own racism in their comments about her newly-adopted son.
She stops them abruptly and says to them, “Shame on you. ” It’s a remarkable filmic moment in many ways. First, it clearly depicts whites in this case. White women, engaging in the kind of back stage behavior many have heard about so often. It’s not rare to see the whites talking about race in explicit ways portrayed in a film. Bullock’s confrontation of them is refreshing, but it’s underplayed and comes out of nowhere for her character. Also, the concept of a black boy being adopted into an all white American family just does not sit well with many. Racism is played out in almost every aspect of Michael’s life.
This is the story: A poor, ignorant, and “innocent” black teenager stumbles into the privileged world of white society. Because he’s so “backwards” the only white people he can communicate with are small children. And even they know more than he does. One little boy even has to teach him how to smile at girls so they won’t be afraid of him. Thank god for the white boy’s kindness, because the ignorant black teenager life is hard! He’s never had his own bed, he’s never gotten much schooling, and the other black people in his life are mean, scary, probably do drugs and unsuccessful.
It’ll take a white kid’s mercy to get him out of this mess. Except wait. No. It’s not the white kid who can help the The teen. It’s the white kid’s pretty white mother. When the white mother learns about the The teen’s hard knock life, she uses all of her rich white magic to make it better. She even helps him learn to play football. The teen’s simple-minded charm affects the white mother. When her rich whitelady friends compliment her good deeds, she says, with a small choke in her voice, that it’s really him who’s changing her. This movie is one hundred percent, good old fashioned family racism. White paternalism? Check.
Ignorant black guy who can’t do anything on his own? Check. Oversimplification of the actual story? Check. Complete ignorance on the writers’ parts of just how condescending this movie is towards black people? Double check. The real Michael Oher even said himself that the movie potrayed him as being more ignorant and poor than he really was. Where are the movies of rich black people helping other black people? Is it because black people don’t help themselves or each other, or is it because hollywood doesn’t want to tell those stories? Also, the Michael Oher was not ignorant, dumb or inarticulate as the movie portrayed him to be.
He was already on the road to success and was a very hard worker and good student. But the movie heightened the contrast between him and the white family in order to show us how different blacks and whites are. Black people are ‘dumb ignorant thugs’ and drug addicts and white people have come to save the children in their capes with an S on their chest. It is not that the real life actions by the family were racist, it is the way in which the film portrays them are. Simply that the movie only encourages and supports existing stereotypes that whites are superior to blacks.