It's because this too-quiet black character was loved and housed by white Christian people -- and critics hated that. Take Melissa Anderson of the Village Voice, who scowled that this movie "peddles the most insidious kind of racism, one in which whiteys are virtuous saviors, coming to the rescue of African-Americans who become superfluous in narratives that are supposed to be about them."
On NPR's talk show "Tell Me More," host Michel Martin suggested, "This is yet another black child who needs white people to save him or her." Boston Globe critic Wesley Morris complained, "Yeah, I mean, it's 'Diff'rent Strokes,' it's 'Webster.'" But when Martin noted the racial roles were reversed in the 2008 movie "The Secret Life of Bees" -- black beekeeper sisters save an abused white girl -- Morris thought that was a work of underappreciated genius.
The elitists never gave "The Blind Side" a break. What fascinates here is that this is not a work of fiction. It's a true story about Michael Oher, now an offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens. NPR's Mondello dismissed the film when it came out in November, and his review of this so-called "populist dreck" wasn't even put on the radio. He called it a "feel-good fantasy for white liberals" that trafficked in racial stereotypes. A "fantasy"? Here's his spin: Its story is "contrived, storybook sweet, credulity-straining and -- um, true."
One reason the elitists are so upset is that they thought the makers of "The Blind Side" were only aiming for a "crowd-pleaser," not an Oscar contender. But obviously, many moviegoers are tired of the overt Oscar-mongering of holiday-season movies, which has become "utterly conventional" as well.
Why would anyone suggest, by default or design, that crowd-pleasing is the opposite of artistic? Why would the critics suggest that a movie that's inspirational is clearly inferior to a movie that "dares" to be demoralizing and grotesque? Why would Hollywood only want to be known as a nightmare factory?
Those Oscar folks who suggest that the word "Best" should never be associated with a "feel-good" movie -- and that a movie loved by the masses can't possibly be an artistic triumph as well -- need to visit Planet Reality. "The Blind Side" shows there is some common sense, however. Even if this were simply a ploy for ratings, Hollywood is sending a message that it doesn't hate and dismiss its audience as the ignorant masses.