LOS ANGELES — In the new
movie “The Blind Side,” Sandra Bullock plays real-life Memphis mother Leigh
Anne Tuohy, a woman whose family is turned upside down when she spots Michael
Oher — a young boy who has left the projects and has nowhere to turn.
The Tuohys decide to provide
a home for Michael and as a result, he reaches heights — both as a student and
as a football player — that few could have imagined. In the process, he not
only transforms himself, but those around him.
Oher, 23, now plays for the
Baltimore Ravens. Tuohy spoke about the movie that depicts her family’s life
and in particular, the role faith played. Answers have been edited for length
Q: Religion is definitely
hinted at in “The Blind Side.” Can you tell me more about your family’s
A: My husband and I met at
Ole Miss. Sean was Catholic, and I went to a nondenominational evangelical
church. We did all different churches. And after we moved to Memphis, we
started our own church called “Grace Evangelical.” We started with less than 50
people. It really has grown, and we have a great core of people.
Michael, I don’t think, had
ever attended church, probably very little. The children are all born-again
Christians, and we’re just a very blessed family.
Q: How did faith influence
your decision to take in Michael?
A: You know, there never was
a decision to take in Michael. Michael was there, he had a need, and we were
able to fill it. Do I think that our faith played a part in that?
We looked over and we said, “Wow, that young man needs some clothes.”
Q: Your children attended
Briarcrest Christian School. Did you find that people at the school were more
open to what you were doing because of its religious nature?
A: By the time we
encountered Michael, he was already attending Briarcrest. We just came along
after the fact. There were some other people at Briarcrest who saw the need.
There were already teachers stepping up, who saw that Michael was an extremely
intelligent young man. Like Michael always says, “I could never repay them for
what they did.” I think they would do it for the next kid, which is a great
thing because there are certainly more Michael Ohers out there.
Q: Was there anything you
felt the movie got particularly right or wrong?
A: By the time they decided
to take on this project, they were the ones who wanted to get it right. Sandra
Bullock put herself into this. It does portray us more accurately than most
Hollywood projects would. These people cared about getting it right, and I
think it shows. Maybe I wouldn’t use those drapes, and maybe I don’t wear my
skirts that tight, but what does it matter?
Q: What do you want people
to take away from the movie?
A: The most impactful
message that people could take from the movie is that society had deemed
Michael worthless. There were very few people who cared where Michael Oher was
any minute of the day. He is now a contributing member of the society. He is
intelligent. He made the dean’s list in college. If it can happen to Michael
Oher, it could
happen to anyone.
We need to figure out what
we can do. Our system is flawed when it comes to kids. And I just really hope
people will walk out of this movie better than they walked in. Do something
little. But whatever it is, do it well.