I had the opportunity to pre-screen a TV movie, Change of Plans, that will be airing January 8 on FOX (produced by Family Movie Night with Walmart and P&G). I watched it with Sweet Pea, Rusty and Ladybug and we all felt like rockstars getting to watch the producer’s cut.
Sometimes plans change – tragedy strikes and everything we thought was in store for us is suddenly gone. The movie Change of Plans tells the story of Jason and Sally Danville (Joe Flanigan and Brooke White), a young professional couple with successful careers. Their unencumbered lives are altered when they learn they’ve been named guardians to four children. Sally’s best friend and her husband have died in an accident in Uganda, leaving Jordan, Javier, Kaleb, and Sung Lee orphans. Somehow, two self-centered but kind adults and four children reeling from the death of their parents must come together in an unlikely blend.
My mom is out of town, so I’m filling in and reviewing the new movie, The Blind Side.
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On a cold night a few days before Thanksgiving of 2002, Leigh Anne Tuohy drove past a 6’ 5” African-American boy. Wearing just shorts and a t-shirt, Michael Oher, or “Big Mike” due to his 350 pound size, was a homeless fifteen year old walking to a gym to stay warm. That night was the start of a new life for Michael, but also for the Tuohys.
This true story of a wealthy Memphis family and the son they adopted was chronicled in the 2006 book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game. The movie, starring Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw and Quinton Aaron as Oher, hit theaters last Friday on the eve of National Adoption Day. Part sports drama, comedy and inspirational film, The Blind Side speaks a strong, beautiful and Christian message.
With powerful performances, especially on the part of Bullock, the film is as uplifting as its source material. According to the Tuohys, it is accurate in capturing Michael’s journey from an illiterate and practically abandoned son of a cocaine addict to a 3.5 GPA dean’s list member and first-round pick on the 2009 NFL draft. While there are some truly touching moments, the movie is not gushy or saccharine. This is the kind of movie that grabs your attention at the beginning and doesn’t let go even after the credits roll.
Surprisingly, Hollywood did not try to downplay the Tuohys’ faith. It is clear that they take Michael in because of God, not guilt. Sandra Bullock, after meeting the Tuohys, said, “I now have faith in those who say they represent a faith. I finally met people who walk the walk.” It’s encouraging to see a film as Christian as The Blind Side be successful in mainstream entertainment. While there is a minority of critics who refuse to be moved by this uplifting tale, they are probably the type who enjoy a demoralizing flick like Orphan.
“How many Michael Ohers are there out there? There are thousands of kids out there, one who might be the next great open-heart surgeon or the next president, but we’ve deemed them valueless,” says Leigh Anne Tuohy, encouraging others to get involved personally with those in need. Perhaps that is what is best about the movie: it asks us to make a difference, but by practicing – not preaching. Leigh Anne models what effective compassion looks like; it isn’t just a gooey emotion, but rather a lifestyle of action for the good of others and the glory of God.
Be sure to watch the trailer. Check out Family Man, a WORLD article about the Tuohys, the book and the movie.
Thanks for reading A Bushel and a Peck andsupporting my mom! –Rusty