In the Picture
The Blind Side
Directed by John Lee Hancock
The Blind Side is an awful film. It represents all that is wrong in American culture. Well, maybe not all, but a lot. It’s a sickly sweet, racist, patronising piece of consumer trash that skilfully avoids the rubbish bin by skilfully manipulating emotions so that you also find it attractive and entertaining.
The Blind Side is described as a feel-good movie. And it is. It makes you feel good that God made you a middle class white person rather than one of those crack-addled, untrustworthy, poor black people.
Sandra Bullock is a pretty good actress. If acting was music then Sandra would be the queen of pop. She has all the moves. Every twitch of her nose and quizzical raising of an eyebrow is so right on; so cool, so… now. I’m not surprised she won an award or something for this role. In this piece of white American propaganda she is the bait, wiggling seductively on the end of a cultural hook attracting the wanna-be lusts of a hungry population looking for meaning in life.
Sandra’s portrayal of a self-righteous, Republican mom, whose guilt about her life dominated by undeserved materialism is offset by helping a poor black boy rise from the ghetto’s gutter to the dizzy heights of celebrity, is some of her best work.
But she’s an agent in pushing the astounding stereotypes in this film. And those stereotypes are pushed without even a hint of tongue-in-cheek. White people are attractive, rich, slim, educated and connected to God. (This is Sandra and her pukey family.) Black people are just nasty.
The object of her salvation fantasies is an ugly, poor, fat, uneducated black man whose mother is a drug addict, and whose black friends are lazy, violent gangsters hanging around on the wrong side of the tracks in Memphis, dealing drugs. (And impertinent enough to want to be rich.)
Oh shame on them.
The film shows that white, Christian family life (and an expensive education… and a new car) can save a poor black fella from the moral depravity of his own world and raise him up to the highest level of society – a sportsman.
Oh dear. Maybe sporting celebrities in the US are different to Aussie ones. Maybe they don’t crap in hallways, molest women and then get their own TV shows.
Look, The Blind Side is very slick. Oh yeah. But vacuous.
It’s an insidious film that slips past your natural defences with its flawless production and big cute factor. It cleverly triggers your emotional responses and makes you go ‘awww’ and ‘good on you!’ at the appropriate moments.
But the culture that created this film is a sad, decaying one whose time is passed.
2 stars (one for the choc top)