Flashback Friday: The Blind Side (2009)

Education, as we all know, unlocks the key to our future. When we don’t have access to that education, that lack of access has the possibility of lifelong consequences.

The 2009 film, The Blind Side, is based on the true story of former NFL player Michael Oher. The narrative comes from the book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, by Michael Lewis. In his teenage years, Oher (Quinton Aaron) was a young man who had almost nothing. Coming from a large African-American family that was dealing with poverty, homelessness, and addiction. Taken in by Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) and her family, he is being given the opportunity that many of his peers will never receive.

When he shows a spark of interest and the ability to play football, this opens the door to a life path that he never expected.

Without knowing anything about the real people behind the story, it is a tale of seeing potential in a young person who does not believe that they have any. Bullock won an Oscar for the role and deserved it. Her role is that of a mama bear who loves and protects her young ones with a ferocity that never wavers.

There are two perspectives on the movie. The first is that it is at heart, a white savior narrative. From a certain point of view, it is extremely problematic. The other is that it humanizes the white evangelical Christian Republicans. These days, it’s easy to demonize this crowd. This story shows that they are just like the rest of us, even when we disagree on a litany of topics.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

For Sama Review

A mother’s love is endless. She will do almost anything in her power to ensure that her child is happy and successful. In a time of war, that includes nearly doing the unthinkable.

In the Oscar nominated documentary, For Sama, is the story of an ordinary woman who is merely trying to survive the Syrian civil war. As the war starts, Waad al-Kateab is doing what we all do. She goes to school, gets a job, falls in love, marries her husband and has a daughter, Sama. But the world that Sama is growing up in is not ordinary. Told through the perspective of Waad’s camera, this documentary takes the viewer into a Syria that few of us outside of that country will ever see.

Directed by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts, this documentary is both personal and hard hitting. In telling the story of this woman and her family, the western audience is given a vantage point that only someone who is on the ground can provide.

I absolutely recommend it.

For Sama is available for streaming on Frontline.

Never Give Up

There are very few of us for whom life is given to us on a silver platter. Most of us have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps to reach whatever goal we are working toward.

Last weekend, Leonardo DiCaprio won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in The Revenant. It was his 6th nomination and his first win.

It’s easy to become disappointed when things go wrong or the path we think was the right one turns out to be the wrong one.

But we have to keep going. There is an old saying about when we give up our dream, that is the moment that it becomes reality.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s first Oscar nomination was in 1994 for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. 22 years later, he finally walked up to the stage to accept the golden statue.

He didn’t give up and neither should we.

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