The Story Line.
During the first part of the movie, big Mike (Michael Oher) appears slow, maybe even stupid. But as the scenes move along, you realize he certainly is not stupid. He’s stunned and traumatized.
At about the age of seven or so he was taken from his home, separated from his mother and siblings, and put into the foster care system; his mother had a long history of using drugs. Since then he’s often been homeless and hungry with no lasting family. At 16 or so, he winds up, almost by mistake, at a private Christian school where the two Tuohy kids go.
Discovered by Leigh Anne Tuohy walking in a cold rain the night before Thanksgiving, she finds he has nowhere to spend the night, he’s once again homeless. The family offers him their home for the night. This moment is the start of a growing, glowing love story.
Little by little over the next few months Leigh Anne integrates Michael into their family, always respecting his feelings about his past. The whole family, all four of them, simply embrace him as though he’s always been there. At separate poignant moments, all four of the Tuohys show that they love him. The growing affection among them isn’t forced though; it seems easy and genuine.
Michael accepts this change of living style: the private school, the loving, generous, Tuohys, a permanent tutor, really all of it, with a sweet innocence. Part of the appeal of this movie is the complete acceptance of Michael’s harsh, harsh background by the Tuohy’s without any probing or judgment. As far as I can tell he’s never made to feel self-conscious or “less than.”
Michael is a huge kid, just the kind that high school football teams need and want. There’s some drama going on as to whether he’ll be able to make the necessary grades to qualify for play. He surmounts the “grade problem” both in high school and for college entrance. He’s drafted by “Ole Miss,” the state university and then goes on to play in the National Football League, where I think he still plays today.
Just a great, great movie!
This movie tapped into my own values right from the start; it was impossible not to sink right down into the feel of it. So, let’s do that.
The Deeper Look.
There’s no doubt that Leigh Anne Tuohy is a Control personality, all 3 kinds of Control: (1) Self-Control, (2) Control of whatever Situation she’s in, and (3) Control of Others, though she’s not mean about it. The Tuohys are unusual in that no one resents Leigh Anne. Her husband and kids not only accept the control, but clearly depend on her leadership, which is one of the best qualities of the Control style. They recognize that she loves them and you can see them all love her right back just by watching their faces.
Maybe it’s because they also know that Leigh Anne has a gigantic heart. She’s a natural caretaker. And, if we catch all the clues, we see that she has a deep belief that her family is fortunate in many ways and needs to “give back.”
Leigh Anne’s other strong personality type is Superiority (we usually have two). She has lots of goals: for herself (she owns her own business), for her son and daughter and, very much for Michael. And, she has the energy and makes the time to pursue her objectives.
Shaun, Sr., Leanne’s husband, is a strong Pleasing personality. This guy is laid back, confident and responsible but not in an arrogant way. He’s obviously in love with his wife; and enjoys doing whatever she wants. There’s no judgment or criticism in his personality; only openness and support. His behavior is a great example of a healthy Pleasing personality.
Shaun’s other strong personality is also Superiority. He owns quite a few Taco Bell restaurants. One of the negatives of this style is that Superiority style people know a lot and sometimes flaunt it. Not Shaun; he seems content to do what he does at his job, not brag about it and leave the home front to Leanne Anne.
Shaun, Jr. and Collin: These two kids look like they’ve picked up their parent’s personality types. Collin is more like her dad: passive, cooperative, sweet, Superiority, quietly fulfilling goals. Shaun’s more like his mom: definitely more outspoken, active, Controlling the situations he’s in, and often, the people he’s with, especially Michael and the whole football thing. A lot of the humor in this movie takes place between Michael and Shaun, Jr., always having fun while showing love and respect for each other.
The opposites attract pattern shows up in this marriage. She’s active; he’s passive. She’s more verbal; he’s less. She makes decisions (for their family); he doesn’t. She’s a head personality, afraid of her feelings, or if not afraid, certainly impatient with them. She goes out of her way not to show them. Shaun, on the other hand, is a feeling person, not afraid of or impatient with his feelings but instead, is comfortable with acting them out, and sometimes talking about them.
Sometimes opposite personalities are so opposite that even though they love each other, they can’t agree on issues where a decision is needed. And often, the people in these couples don’t share enough of the same values to bridge over the disagreements.
From what I can tell, Leigh Anne and Shaun are not so opposite that they can’t come to common agreements; they do cooperate with each other. But, more than that, they do have common values and have passed those down to their children: (1) family, (2) education, (3) moving forward (goals), (4) sharing, giving back, generosity, (5) sports, (6) relationships, (7) commitment, (8) responsibility, (9) courage, and (10) hard work. These are the values that were apparent.
If you haven’t already seen this movie, I’d say run to rent it. It’s definitely a feel-good two hours.
Warmest regards until next time,
If the paragraph above on Values interested you, please go on over to the more complete information on the Values page on this website. Also, if my list is missing some values that you think about and/or act out in your life, please share them. I’ll add them on with mine.
Thanks so much for reading. And, if you know someone else who would like this Review, please share it. And make sure to check back here next Friday for a new review, and at the main blog on Tuesday for new material.