The Blind Side: Movie Summary
The movie Blind Side is built upon the themes of racial discrimination and integration. It is about a young black man, Michael, referred to by many as Big Mike. At the beginning of the movie, Steven’s dad goes into a Catholic school requesting for a chance for Steven and big Mike. Even though the coach decides to support the bid to have Mike in the school, he does so because of the boy’s capability to engage in sports. Later on, Michael experiences a lot of discrimination from both students and teachers in the school due to his race. The only person who gives him some attention is Sean Junior (SJ), who talks to his mom about big Mike. Later, SJ’s family meets Michael on his way to the gym since he has nowhere else to go. SJ’s mom, Leigh Anne decides to take him in spite of the family’s doubt about him. As he lives with the family, he gradually gets attuned to their family traditions and is considered as part of the family. Leigh Anne and SJ’s dad Sean, support Michael in his schooling as well as his ball games. The family also arranges for extra lessons for him to improve his grades and get a football scholarship to college. He also gets officially adopted into the Sean family when he needs his driving license and has no past records of his personality. He eventually goes to Old Mississippi for his college studies on a football scholarship.
At the beginning of the movie, discrimination is eminent in many different circumstances. It all begins with the request for Big Mikes admission. The coach believes in his capability to perform due to the confidence he has to show up at the school. However, the other school board members are adamant to have him in the school on account of his grades. The coach feels that denying him the chance would be discriminating wrongfully and tells them that admitting Big Mike would be the right thing to do. Other instances of racial discrimination are observed in the manner in which the other kids treat Mike. For instance, when he offers to push some children on the swings, they all run away. Also on the first day he goes into the Sean’s home, Collins does not exactly welcome him but rather says a cold ‘okay’. In the team, he also experiences a lot of discrimination until the coach assures him of his unending support and defends him against a visiting team that is becoming overly racial. The coach also warns the other team against attacking his player. In Michael’s neighborhood, the discrimination is against white people as evidenced in how they treat Leigh Anne and Michael’s stern warning that she should not get out of the car.
The film develops the theme of political economy to neoclassical transition in various ways. In the school and in the home settings, Big Mike gradually gets acculturated into the environments and eventually becomes aligned with the systems. Marangos (2002) discusses the gradualist nature of neoclassical economy, where the expected outcomes are achieved through gradual institutional development. The best character to exemplify this in the movie is Michael. At the first contact with the school, he did not speak much and couldn’t interact with people efficiently. In the school, he neither answered questions nor talked to the teachers and students to a point where his behavior became the subject of a staffroom discussion. Mike’s attitude towards the school as a whole was off and in his own confessed writing, he said he did not like the teachers and did not understand anything they said in class. He also did not like it that there were a lot of white faces around. In the home setting, Michael rarely communicated with Leigh Anne and his family members. He stuck to his own beliefs and traditions and was always amazed at people’s behaviors in the home such as when they ate in the lounge rather than at the dining table. With constant support and the realization that the family wanted the best for him, Michael gradually begins to come around. The realization that he had a better opportunity achieving his dreams with the Sean family than with his own mom drove Michael to putting in more effort to align with his new family.
The discrimination slowly fades away due to the constant support that Mike receives from different quarters. From Leigh Anne and Sean’s family, Michael is understood and supported towards his football and academic achievements. Once in the team, the coach supports Michael in every way he can, making it possible for him to concentrate in the games and away from the negative energy from the competing teams. Collins also comes around to actually accepting Michael as part of the family. With good performance in athletics and academics, Michael gets firmly rooted in Sean’s family. He finally shows this in the last scene when he goes to college at Old Mississippi in line with the recommendations of the entire family.
Marangos, J. (2002). A political economy approach to the neoclassical model of transition. The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 61(1): 259 -276. Retrieved from www.jstor.org/stable/3487747?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
Michael, L. (2009, November 17). The blindside. Directed by John Lee Hancock. www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_94MwdBrc0