Australian Council on Children and the Media

Blind Side, The

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Not recommended under 12, PG to 15 (Themes, Violence)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Blind Side, The
  • a review of Blind Side, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 25 February 2010.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not recommended due to themes and violence
Children 12-14 Parental guidance recommended due to themes and violence
Children 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Blind Side, The
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild coarse language, infrequent violence and drug reference
Length 128 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

This is the true story of Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), a disadvantaged African American youth, who went on to become an American football player for the NFL. Michael is taken from his mother at a young age because of her drug addiction and grows up in a very tough neighbourhood in Memphis. His life changes dramatically when he unexpectedly meets Leigh Anne Touhy (Sandra Bullock), a strong yet kind-hearted woman who takes Michael into her home. The Touhy’s wealthy lifestyle couldn’t be further from the life Michael has known. Sean Touhy (Tim McGraw) owns a chain of fast food outlets and they live in a beautiful house. The two children Collins (Lily Collins) and precocious S.J. (Jae Head) accept Michael and he becomes one of the family.

Michael struggles at school and initially on the football field, much to the dismay of Coach Burt Cotton (Ray McKinnon) who had seen Michael’s size as being a great advantage. However, with coaching from Leigh and tutoring from Mrs. Smith (Kathy Bates), Michael goes on to succeed in both, winning a college scholarship.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Homelessness, drug addiction

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • A lot of violence on the football field
  • Michael gets into a fight with some men from his old neighbourhood – one produces a gun and shots are fired.
  • Michael has flashbacks of similar episodes happening when he was a child and was removed from his mother.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged under five, including the following:

  • A man is carried off the football field on a stretcher
  • Michael crashes his car with S.J. in it – he is injured and shown with blood over him.
  • The brief scenes showing Michael being removed from his home

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Mrs. Smith talks about body parts being cut up and buried underneath the Memphis football field
  • Michael receives a message at school that his father (whom he doesn’t actually know) has fallen off a bridge and died.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group could be disturbed by the threatening and violent behaviour of the men from Michael’s neighbourhood.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Taco Bell
  • KFC
  • Borders
  • Pepsi

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Leigh Anne tells Michael that if he gets a girl pregnant at college she’ll come and cut off his penis.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Leigh Anne and Sean kiss passionately in bed.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Drinking and smoking at various venues
  • Drug taking paraphernalia is shown in a house
  • Michael’s mother is a drug addict

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • arse
  • crap
  • bitch
  • tits

In a nutshell

The Blind Side is an inspirational true story of a kind-hearted woman who reached out to someone in need and helped him to succeed in life. Sandra Bullock plays the part of Leigh Anne Touhy very convincingly but the movie does seem to gloss over the many difficulties that must have arisen.

The main messages from this movie are that compassion and kindness can really make a difference.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • tolerance
  • charity
  • strength of character
  • perseverance
  • family bonds

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • the negative portrayal of African Americans
  • the difficulties that the Touhys would have faced taking Michael into their home
  • the results of alcohol and drug dependency

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