Friday, February 1, 2013

Football and Family - The Blind Side as an Adoption Movie

I'm really excited about this! I've asked several adoption bloggers to share about a movie that's connected with their adoption story in a powerful way. New guest posts will run every other week or so, on Fridays. With the Superbowl two days away it seems fitting that the first post, by adoption blogger and author Lori Holden, is about the touching, family-friendly football film, The Blindside.

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It was my turn to pick the Date Night movie, since Husband had chosen Sherlock Holmes over the holiday break. His worry and my fear were that my pick would be too sappy, too predictable, too easy to know the whole story from just the trailer.

But. The Blind Side begins with football (a clip of Joe Theismann and Lawrence Taylor) and ends with football (spoiler avoidance). So Husband was quickly on board. And he STAYED on board due to the strength of the acting, the interesting plot twists (that seem slightly over-the-top, except that they actually happened), and the endearing, welling-up feel-good story. You probably already know that The Blind Side is an adoption story. A transracial adoption story. A crack-addicted biological mom, a barely-known father, and a shattered childhood story.

(Technically, there wasn't an adoption -- just legal guardianship out of foster care.)

Still. It's the story of a boy with no family (functionally speaking), and a family who was open to him. Of the openness on both sides that allowed for an amazing transformation of both the boy and the family.

Sandra Bullock plays Leigh Ann Tuohy, a Memphis socialite and lover of beautiful things, a steel magnolia with an unyielding will. Singer Tim McGraw is her husband, Sean, owner of a slew of Taco Bells who doesn't need to report to work on a regular schedule. They have two children: Collins, a high school cheerleader, and SJ (Sean Jr), a young and precocious boy who befriends the older and lonely Michael, played exquisitely by Quinton Aaron.

Michael, 16-ish, quiet and somewhat lost, has been in and out of foster homes most of his life. He eventually leaves each one to seek his elusive mother, sometimes finding her and sometimes not. He owns the clothes on his back and an extra shirt. He hangs out at a laundromat. By chance, he gets into a private school.

Where he struggles academically. Where he crosses paths with SJ and later with the whole Tuohy family. Where testing shows that he scores incredibly low on every measured criteria except one: Protective Instinct, which is at 98%. This proves to be the key to both Michael's past as well as his future.





So begins the transforming. The film touches on the two-way street of giving and getting when adding a family member -- not just the rescuing part. "He's changing MY life," Leigh Ann says when her socialite friends commend her efforts. Too often, outsiders see adoption, especially foster-adoption, as an act of charity, of selflessness, when really, those in the know are aware of how much is gained.

Some of the more difficult parts of the loss of Michael's biological family are revealed. Leigh Ann tracks down Michael's mother, and we see her pain of letting him down. In this scene, Leigh Ann doesn't feel the need to replace the mother, but simply serve as mom in light of the mother's inability. Secondly, Michael's encounter with a waiter in a restaurant ends in an embrace. When Leigh Ann asks who that was, we can see the deep scar from the separation of another biological family member.

Transracial issues are addressed in neighborhood scenes; the comparison between the bona fide mansion of the Tuohy's and the projects of Michael's roots are stark. Watching Michael and Leigh Ann move between the worlds is anxiety-provoking.

And there are flashbacks of Michael's earlier trauma, as his healing and integration begin to take place.

A glaring but minor drawback: there are no messy family dynamics. No school issues for the Tuohy children, no problem with chores and responsibilities. Just two perfect children gleefully bringing a new and near-grown brother into their lives without any adjustment problems. Maybe I'm just jealous.

The film ends with a "What happened to ... ?" segment. And we see the real-life unfolding of events, with photos of the real Leigh Ann, Sean, Collins, SJ, and Michael.

My children and I watched The Blind Side at home when it came out on DVD. Parts of Michael's story were hard for them to witness. They especially enjoyed the scenes in which Michael wasn't sure what or whom he could trust and how that resolved. When the Baltimore Ravens play anyone but the Denver Broncos, we root for Michael Oher on football Sundays.



Lori Holden writes from Denver at LavenderLuz.com about parenting and living mindfully. Her book, The Open Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available for pre-order on Amazon. She has written for Adoptive Families magazine, Parenting magazine, for BlogHer and MileHighMamas.com. Lori is the keynote speaker at the March 9 Parenthood for Me Gala. On Twitter she's @LavLuz


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14 comments:

  1. I so love that movie and yes! I never realized at the time I was watching it why! Total adoption themes! Great post!

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  2. It really goes to show that a movie doesn't need to call itself an adoption movie (ie, Juno, Meet the Robinsons)... to still be very relevant to adoption!

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  3. Thanks for the chance to review this film here, Addison! The kids and I are eager to cheer for Michael Oher this weekend.

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    Replies
    1. Hey, he won :) Thanks again for being my first guest poster, Lori!

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  4. I like that you addressed the drawbacks in the film. I love this story, certainly, but I do think the movie fails to adequately portray the adjustments of moving a teenager into one's life. My husband and I opened our home to one of my students after he graduated, and for a while, it was more weird than warm and fuzzy. It had just been the two of us, and we had to get used to having this person around all the time with different ideas about sleeping hours, laundry, eating habits, etc. Later, we moved in another 18-year-old, and there were challenges as he struggled with things like curfew and sharing a bathroom with others. It all worked out fine, but it wasn't always a smooth transition.

    And while I appreciate the film, I do get uncomfortable sometimes when friends accuse me of trying to replicate the Tuohy's life by deciding to make our guys part of the family. There are similarities in the narratives, I suppose, but I generally don't make major life decisions based on movies, ya know? Gees.

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    Replies
    1. I love what you and your husband are doing, Camille! It's hard to believe that people would accuse you of trying to replicate the Tuohy's... but even if you were following their example, what do your friends see wrong with following a good example!!

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  5. I really enjoyed this movie when I saw it and enjoyed it again through your post. I think it was especially moving because it was based on a true story.

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  6. World Cup 2014: Raiola: New boss must rediscover Italy identity

    http://www.football-images.net/2014-07-01/b9d6d48540bb981e03bb6db48b834bea.jpg
    Italian influential representative Mino Raiola insists whoever taking over as new Italy coach must rediscover their lost identity.
    The 2006 World Cup winners endured a dismal World Cup Campaign in Brazil, which in turn provoked Cesare Prandelli to step down.
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    “The FIGC needs to change, get rid of those who didn’t dare defend Mario or the other players, who were incapable since 2006 of starting a real project.”
    “They would only need to copy the approach of others, like Spain or Holland, but nothing happens.”

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  7. Jardim blames referee for Monaco defeat





    Agen Bola Terpercaya Cityholidaybet Reported - Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim blamed the referee for his side's 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Bordeaux.
    In this encounter Monaco took the lead through Dimitar Berbatov but then crumbled as goals from Diego Rolan (2), Emiliano Sala and Wahbi Khazri completed a stunning turn around.
    Two of those four goals came from the penalty spot and Jardim said the decision of referee Tony Chapron to award the spot-kicks cost his side the game.
    "We had a game with two very different halves, a good half of Monaco where we were very well organised and a second half in which the adversary has come back and equalised quickly," he said.
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    "I have certainty that their game will get better and also certainty that there will be more mistakes. The French referees are good but there will be more mistakes in the future."

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  8. Monaco thrashed by Bordeaux




    Agen Bola Terpercaya Cityholidaybet Reported - Leandro Jardim and Marcelo Bielsa are both still looking for their maiden Ligue 1 wins after Monaco and Marseille lost on Sunday.
    Jardim replaced Claudio Ranieri at Monaco in June after an eye-catching spell in charge of Sporting in Portugal, but his reign at Stade Louis II has got off to an underwhelming start.
    Monaco were beaten by 2-1 at home by Lorient in their curtain-raiser last week - and things got even worse at Bordeaux on Sunday.
    Despite taking the lead through Dimitar Berbatov just before the break, Jardim's side were beaten 4-1 at Stade Jacques Chaban-Delmas.
    Diego Rolan netted twice and a pair of penalties - one each from Emiliano Sala and Wahbi Khazri - consigned last season's Ligue 1 runners-up to a second defeat in a row, and lifted Bordeaux to joint top of the table.

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  9. Blind quiet on Manchester United transfer speculation




    Agen Bola Terpercaya Cityholidaybet Reported - Ajax left-back Daley Blind insists he has heard nothing of rumours liking him with a potential switch to Manchester United this summer.
    United are pressing ahead with plans to sign Blind and Fiorentina star Juan Cuadrado as Louis van Gaal looks to bolster his injury-hit squad.
    Louis van Gaal is keen to be reunited with the 24-year-old after he played a starring role in the Netherlands' run to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Brazil.
    Last week Blind told Goal he would find it hard to turn down United if they were to make an approach, but was silent on his future following Ajax's 3-1 Eredivisie win at AZ on Sunday.
    "I have nothing to report," Blind told Voetbal Primeur. "I'm happy here."

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  10. Alcacer: Scoring first Spain goal was wonderful

    Agen Bola Terpercaya Cityholidaybet Reported - Paco Alcacer was quick to express his delight after scoring his first goal for Spain in the 5-1 win over Macedonia on Monday.
    Alcacer said that his goal, which he dedicated to his late father, was made even more enjoyable by the fact it came in the city of his birth at the home of Valencia's local rivals Levante.
    "I am very happy with the game. To play here on Levante's pitch in Valencia, my home, and to top it with a goal and a victory, is wonderful," the 21-year-old told TVE.
    "This team has a lot of quality and it was only a matter of time before a big win was recorded with good play and goals. There are players with a lot of quality and that has been demonstrated.
    "Of course this is for my father. I remember him every day. He's always with me and I dedicate this important goal."


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  11. Del Bosque: Spain freedom let Silva shine



    Agen Bola Terpercaya Cityholidaybet Reported - Spain boss Vicente del Bosque believes that a greater freedom to play his style allowed David Silva to shine as they defeated Macedonia 5-1 on Monday.
    The Manchester City attacker was the best player on the field as la Roja bounced back from World Cup 2014 humiliation with a comfortable win in their opening Euro 2016 qualification match, scoring one and playing a large part in three of the other four goals.
    Del Bosque praised Silva's performance and confessed that Spain no longer command respect the way they did before this summer's tournament in Brazil, but hopes they can change that with more convincing wins.
    "Certainly Silva was one of the players who was most prominent tonight," he told reporters. "This was because of the freedom he had.
    "He tried and succeeded to connect with players up front. He has the individual talent to break defences apart."


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  12. Leaving Manchester United is not a step back, insists Nani



    Agen Bola Terpercaya Cityholidaybet Reported - Manchester United winger Nani insists that being loaned out to Sporting CP is not a "step back" for his career.
    The Portugal international signed a new five-year contract at Old Trafford in September 2013 but, less than a year later, has returned to his former club as part of the deal to that takes Marcos Rojo to the Premier League.
    The 27-year-old, however, claims that he chose Sporting over other teams interested in his signature.
    "I do not think that it's a step back," Nani told Tutto Mercato.
    "I had other options but I decided to play at this club. It was my choice."

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