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Film Reviews

The Blind Side

Another poor, massive, uneducated African-American teenager lumbers onto screens this month, two weeks after Precious and obviously timed as a pre-Thanksgiving-dinner lesson in the Golden Rule. But unlike the howling rage of Claireece Precious Jones, Blind Side's Michael "Big Mike" Oher (Quinton Aaron) is mute, docile, and ever-grateful to the white folks who took him in. Based on a true story recounted in Michael Lewis' 2006 book of the same name, The Blind Side the movie peddles the most insidious kind of racism, one in which whiteys are virtuous saviors, coming to the rescue of African-Americans who become superfluous in narratives that are supposed to be about them. Steel magnolia Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock, frosted and thickly accented) welcomes the homeless Big Mike into her family's Memphis McMansion, later explaining to him how to play left tackle. In every scene, Oher is instructed, lectured, comforted, or petted like a big puppy; he is merely a cipher (Aaron has, at most, two pages of dialogue), the vehicle through which the kind-hearted but imperfect whites surrounding him are made saintlier. "Am I a good person?" Leigh Anne asks her husband nonrhetorically — as if every second in this film weren't devoted to canonizing her.

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Melissa Anderson is the senior film critic at the Village Voice, for which she first began writing in 2000. Her work also appears in the publications of the Voice’s film partner, Voice Media Group: LA Weekly, Denver Westword, Phoenix New Times, Miami New Times, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Houston Press and Dallas Observer.

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