Caroline Friday

Caroline Friday is a novelist and award winning screenwriter with several film projects in development for both television and theatrical distribution. Her first novel will be published by Thomas Nelson in the spring of 2011. She is also a 2008 Kairos Screenwriting Winner for spiritually uplifting screenplays, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. Caroline currently serves as EVP of Sixth Day Media, LLC, a film finance and production company headquartered in the Atlanta area. She lives in Marietta, Georgia, with her husband and three children and can be found at

The Blind Side

For those of you who haven’t been to the theater to see this fabulous movie starring Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw, get up and go! Many of us Christians, me included, have a jaded view toward Hollywood and the current slate of movies and television shows being produced, but this gem of a story restored my hope that God is working mightily in this powerfully persuasive industry.

I really had no idea what to expect as I hunkered down into my cushy stadium seat with buttered popcorn and soda, other than a typical, cute Sandy Bullock tale that would be entertaining but not too memorable. Boy, was I wrong. It has all of the elements I crave in a good movie: love, sacrifice, the importance of God and family, and what is rarely seen today—the metamorphosis of a shallow, worldly, self-professing Christian into a true woman of God.

Based on fact, Sandra Bullock plays Leigh Anne Tuohy, who lives the seemingly perfect suburban life in Memphis, Tennessee. She is beautiful and thin, lives in a huge gorgeous house, has a successful interior design business, a loving marriage with a wealthy fast-food franchise owner, wonderful kids, great friends . . . need I go on? Her only fault, if you could call it that, is her heart for the underdog. Enter Michael Oher, a tall gentle giant of a boy who attends the same private school as the Tuhoy children. Michael (referred to as “Big Mike”) is African American and, despite his learning disabilities, attends the school on an athletic scholarship because of his skill and prowess on the football field. Homeless and without a stable family environment, Michael sleeps in the school gym and on friends’ sofas, struggling to keep up with the rigid academic requirements that keep him at the bottom of the class.

The movie picks up when Leigh Anne sees Michael leaving a basketball game one cold winter night with no obvious place to go. She brings him home like she would a stray dog, and the rest is history. You would think that, given the circumstances, the Tuohys would have a greater impact on changing and molding Michael into the man he eventually becomes, when, in fact, it is the other way around—which gives the story its power. It is Michael who shines light on the Tuohys’ lives and helps Leigh Anne see that what they have is really empty and shallow. To Michael, everything is about family—protecting and loving them, just like an offensive tackle protecting the quarterback’s blind side in a football game (hence the title). Over time, Leigh Anne begins to see life from his perspective and learns that it isn’t the

money, house, and successful business that really matter, but the love, commitment, and loyalty from family. It isn’t long before her Christian heart opens up to him, and she begins to love this boy like her own son.

My heart was pricked when she comes downstairs the morning after his first night spent on the sofa, half expecting him to have robbed them, and finds the sheets and blankets carefully folded and neatly stacked. And then on Thanksgiving Day, when the Tuohy meal is typically eaten in front of the television set (watching a football game), Michael is at the dining room table with the napkin in his lap, eating like a gentleman. The next thing you know, the television is turned off and the entire family is at the table with Michael, properly thanking the Lord for all of His blessings.

But what clinched the movie for me was Leigh Anne’s general character and personality as a fiercely devoted mother to Michael (whom she refers to boldly as “her kid”). Her likeability as a heroic movie character skyrockets as she fearlessly defends him in front of the country club set, the teachers and administration, the football coach, and the evil thugs from his past life who try to lure him into a world of drugs and violence. And I liked her even more when she legally adopts him and helps him excel academically, eventually leading to a coveted football scholarship to Old Miss, the family’s alma mater. Under her love and guidance, Michael’s success as an athlete doesn’t stop there but takes him all the way to All-American and a first round draft pick in the NFL.

As an avid movie lover, I have to say bravo to the financiers, writers, producers, director, and actors who made this picture possible. It truly is one of the best films I have seen in many years, and I look forward to owning it on DVD. Being a minor Sandra Bullock fan before, I must now confess she is on my A-list of favorite Hollywood actresses. I have read and heard from her own testimony that this story has had a dramatic effect on her personal life, so perhaps we will see more of these types of films from her in the future. I sure hope so! But until then, get to the movies and get out your hankies, because this is one to be cherished!