For those of you who haven’t seen it, it is based on a true story of a devout Christian couple who took in a homeless teen who was failing in school and loved him and were redemptive agents in his life. He went on to great success as a football player, but more importantly, as a caring individual. Sandra Bullock played Leigh Ann Touhy, the mother, and was hesitant to meet her because she said she had only had bad experiences with evangelical Christians. But after meeting Leigh Ann, Bullock is reported to have said in the Vancouver News:
I said to Leigh Anne when I met her, ‘One of my biggest concerns stepping into this is this whole banner thing.’ I told her it scared me because I have had a lot of experiences that haven’t been that great. But she was so honest and forthright. I feel I have finally met someone who practices but doesn’t preach. I now have faith in those who say they represent a faith, whereas before I would say, ‘Do not give me a lecture, because I think I am a pretty good human being. I may not go to church all the time, but I try to do the right thing. You are going to church and sleeping with someone else’s wife, so how are you better than me?’ I finally met someone who walks the walk, and that made me happy.”
Bullock says that the key to her decision to make the film was that the Touhys didn’t get involved in Oher’s life for any benefits that might come to them. She says she felt the film would promote a genuine selflessness. “They didn’t do it because someone was writing an article or a book or making a movie. They did it because their instinct was to give love and to reach out a hand. Everyone questioned their motives, of course, because we don’t trust anyone who does anything nice. That is the sad world we live in. But they kept going, so it makes you feel that you need to step up your game. I felt it was an inspirational story that says we are more capable than we think we are, even though we don’t really live in a world that supports the good that we can do.”
The movie did make me reflect on how living our faith can have such a huge impact on the world.
There were times when I found myself thinking, “This is a secular writer’s perspective of a Christian family, because I have to believe this family was a bit different than portrayed. The stereotype that Christians think you have to be a Republican — that at Thanksgiving dinner they would not be giving thanks — that she would have such callous close friends. But on the other hand — maybe that was all true. I’m sure there are believers of whom that is all true, but it seemed inconsistent with the main story line.
But overall, I thought the film worth seeing this Christmas season — as a family — and one to talk about. It is rare for a secular production team to take on a story about Christians and not completely distort it, so that was so refreshing.
I’d love your thoughts!