It is a rare occasion that my wife and I get a “date night”, and this holiday weekend serendipitously provided us with a Saturday night free of children as well as other social obligations. We opted for movie and dinner reminiscent of how we started our evenings nearly 20 years ago, but now after a movie dinner sad to say, it is time for some “sofa-surfing” then bed, and it is rare we see midnight anymore unless we get up to go to the bathroom or shut off the TV.
We had heard really good “non-professional” reviews of the new movie “Blind Side”, and were fortunate to find one we both could agree on. I typically, being a red-blooded male, like a good comedy or the “3-B Combo” - boobs, bombs, and blood if I am going to the big screen and paying the fare. My wife enjoys comedy too, but chick flicks, female films, or “mama dramas” are her typical choice. Blind Side it was, and we were definitely pleased with our choice. Very pleased!
In all honesty, I could pretty much predict what I was going to see prior to sitting in the high back thrones of the theatre. I assumed and was proven correct that it was going to have a “collision of lifestyles” with the affluent Caucasian family inviting an African American young man to blend into their world. I figured there would be some “awkward-moment montages”, as well as a cluster of golden “ah-ha’s”, and dialogue to make me feel all warm and fuzzy. The movie, based on a true story about a young African American man who has a “gift” that needs revealed and cultivated, but lives in a world that is not nurturing to that gift, is engaging as it is about Michael Oher, a professional athlete and how his path crossed with a family from the “good side of the tracks” and how all their lives were changed forever.
Now do not at all get me wrong. The movie was around two hours long; I didn’t notice. The movie about a football player - *SPOILER ALERT* - had very little football “playing” in it at all, I didn’t mind. The movie had a lot of dramatic struggles and or conversations that were not really sensationalized “Hollywood style”, and the dialogue was quite “normal”, but again I really liked it. It was like a pleasant drive in the country; aside from a couple events that punctuated the film, and some chuckles sparked from the main character’s relationship with a precocious young boy, it was as I said, “pleasant”.
What I did notice as I enjoyed the film and reflected afterwards was the reason we and so many others liked it. At times, many actually, I find that I go to the movies to see “larger than life” things happen in “larger than life” size in “louder than life” volume, paying “larger than life” money for “larger than life” cholesterol inducing treats. This and other films like it are when we decide we do not need entertained, but “reminded” of things. I do not really see it as “educated” as the stuff I experienced I usually am educated in, but often forget and or simply need to be reminded of.
The movie started by reminding me to be aware of those I encounter, and to never miss an opportunity to make someone’s day. The gesture of offering food, shelter, clothing and financial support was indeed a monumental expression of kindness as well as the other deeds that supported the movie, but that it is not the size of the gesture, but to be aware “when” I may be able to help not how much or often. Small gestures from helping a person with a disability to open a door, to offering our time, to something as simple as a smile are what connect us to our humanity.
I know in times of economic struggle we often find ourselves focusing on what we need, or have lost, or what we may want. I find that I need to remember that as bad off as I may have it, there are others in more dire straits. What I throw away, others may be able to live on for days. The fact that the young man in the movie mentioned he “never had a bed” as he was being offered one by his new “family”, was enough to make me reflect and say thanks as I lay down last night in a warm house with 5 beds, down comforters, a plethora of pillows, and closets full of sheets and blankets. Perhaps I can give some away rather than keeping them in a bulging closet space.
The young man also mentions in a scene the importance of “courage and honor”. Aside from his courage and honor in overcoming his obstacles, as did the family have to overcome some as well, I find that it takes a tremendous amount of courage and honor to do what is humanly “right” at times. The movie proved that to extend a hand to others, as well as the courage to reach back and accept the grasp extended to us takes courage. Often I find that the rationalization why we should just “go about our business” often can intercept our inherent desire to try to help our fellow man. What people will think, the potential danger, the cost involved, and a multitude of defeating statements prohibit us from reaching out, reaching down, or reaching upward.
What I find as my wife and I discussed the movie, and we have with others is truly that we all enjoy being “reminded” of what we already know but sometimes forget. Sometimes life gets in the way. I find on the smallest level, the dialogue of an experience like this movie raises our consciousness that for one, others have changed lives, including their own, starting with a simple gesture of humanity and kindness. Second that the size of the gesture given does not necessarily reflect the degree of impact it can have in one’s life. Also, both parties, giver and receiver are enriched in a way that endures and develops exponentially. Finally, it takes courage, and with that comes honor.
I really recommend seeing the movie. I hope people will celebrate the lives of these remarkable people. I hope it causes some simple reflections and in the end makes your heart smile. I hope that you may see that we all can do something; something to change the life of another human being. You will also chuckle, possibly well up, and cheer! Hopefully if the message doesn’t hit you dead on, it will get you on your blind side.