A 2009 movie directed by John Lee Hancock, The Blind Side is a sports drama based on a true story. The movie was extremely successful, and it went on to win numerous Academy Awards and gain widespread popularity amongst the American public. While the movie was put out almost nine years ago, it still resonates with a lot of people and helps people understand more about the issues on serious topics such as race relations and adoption. The movie shows how a teen, Michael Oher, goes from being an outcast of society amongst the lowest socioeconomic realms of the world to a pro football player who becomes beloved by both his newfound family and his team. Oher is an African American teenager who suffers from poverty and a low socioeconomic community. Oher has been in and out of numerous foster homes, and the only thing that seems to be going for him are his physical traits and his imposing height, as many believe he is an all around athlete who can make it to the NFL, or the National Football League. After Michael is enlisted in a rich, white Christian school by a character named Big Tony, a rich white family adopts Michael, or eventually adopts Michael, after they insert him into their household and realize he is a part of their family. Because of the support he receives by his family, Michael begins to become more successful, both athletically and academically.
While Michael continues to question the family due to his background of distrust and abandonment, he eventually realizes that the family is genuinely accepting of him and comes to love them as he finally feels like he is part of a family. Michael eventually goes to college and moves onto the NFL as a left tackle who plays for the Baltimore Ravens. This movie really shows the true nature of the adoption crisis throughout the entire world as well as how tough it is to survive in times of poverty where you get little to no help nor opportunity. The movie also tries to answer some extremely complex issues such as nature versus nurture, poverty, race, and much more. I personally loved watching this movie as I thought it did a great job of not only entertaining myself with the great acting but also helping me understand more about the things in American society that should be getting more attention. While I believe that this movie will always be remembered as special due to the actors and plot, I think that Hollywood should try to embrace these themes this movie presents in order to not only expand their following but help people understand important issues permeating throughout our society.

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Letter to S.J.
S.J. is the younger boy in the family who grows to really love his adopted brother Michael. Like any other child, S.J. really doesn’t understand the complexities of life as of yet, and he is oftentimes confused in the film but in an innocent type of way. S.J. really comes to look up to Michael, and Michael does embrace this role.

Dear S.J.,
I am writing to you today in order to help you further your relationship with Michael as well as other people in your family who you dearly love. I’m also writing to you in order to help you understand more about life in general and the ups and downs that come with it. Before I go any further, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I am a Junior attending the [University of ], and I am taking a course in Family Communications. I have been observing your relationships and communication tendencies with your family members and I think I can offer some help and advice to help you build better relationships with them. I also have realized that you are a very young boy, and having been in your position before I think I can tell you some of the observations I’ve picked up while going through both the joys and hardships of life.

From what I have seen, you definitely adore your brother but some of your friends question your adoration of Michael. This is because of race relations within our country, as many people are uncomfortable with the idea of a black man being in a white family since the media has portrayed this as somewhat of a taboo. I just wanted to tell you that you are doing a great job of avoiding groupthink and peer pressure and instead sticking up for the morally right thing. Just so you know, groupthink is something when you are within a group and you basically just go with what they say. A lot of this can be due to peer pressure, which is when you are tempted to do something because your friends want you to do it. You’ve done a good job of resisting groupthink and peer pressure in order to be an independent individual who is willing to look beyond the color of one’s skin. In today’s society, we have a lot of racism and discrimination, so it’s important that there are more people like you so we can grow up to live in a more just society. Free and open thinking is the first step in order to really improve one’s communication skills, so I just wanted to commend you on that.

Next, I want to talk about something that I thought you may want to improve upon. Physical cues and facial expressions are extremely important for things like communication, so you should make sure that you are looking at Michael’s face when talking to him. Michael has grown up as an unwanted child, and some things you may think are fine to say may make him a bit uncomfortable. It’s completely ok if you consider this and look to Michael in order to improve on yourself and try to make yourself better. Michael is someone who is extremely forgiving, and he knows you have good intentions. Another consideration I’d recommend to you is that you should ask more questions to Michael. Communication should be like a give and take, and in order for that to come to fruition both sides must be asking questions and answering the other person’s questions. By doing this, you build trust; and with trust, you can eventually ask more personal questions which allows you to bond and grow closer. When I first met my best friend, we didn’t really know each other and there was very little trust between us. However, after we engaged in conversation we found out more about each other and thus became great friends. If we never asked each other questions, we probably wouldn’t be friends today because we didn’t make the effort to become friends in the first place. So with these recommendations, I can see you and Michael taking your sibling relationship to the next level in order for you both to gain trust towards each other. Michael already trusts you greatly and he wants to see you succeed; he hasn’t really had a loving family before, so it’s important that you are there for him to support him as he moves into adulthood and begins his own life in a world he never envisioned living in.

  • Groupthink. (n.d.). Retrieved December 08, 2017, from http://communicationtheory.org/groupthink/
    Nonverbal Communication. (n.d.). Retrieved December 08, 2017, from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships-communication/nonverbal-communication.htm
  • Hancock, J. L. (Director). (2009). The blind side [Video file]. Retrieved December 8, 2017.