The other afternoon was a wash for schoolwork with J wanting to just snuggle me for a while. So, I took a peek at what was available to watch on HBO On Demand (which we have for the moment.)
The movie, Something the Lord Made, jumped out at me as what I needed to watch right then (it’s last day available on demand.) P joined me and both of us agreed that it is an awesome movie. Actually, I still am getting goosebumps after watching this incredibly powerful movie. I did get goosebumps talking to someone about it last night who also found it to be a powerful and worthwhile film to watch.
Made by HBO back in 2004 (which might explain why I hadn’t heard of it before this past week), Something the Lord Made chronicles the life of Vivien Thomas, a black man who spent years working and running the laboratory of Dr. Alfred Blalock. Together they made history with the first cardiac surgery to save the ‘blue babies’ from early death as they rerouted blood flow to the lungs. And, in the process they also challenged a system that still required blacks to come through the back door and had placed Thomas into Class 3 (janitor) instead of his true job of lab technician.
Interestingly, Thomas was initially hired to be a janitor by Dr. Blalock. But, his observation of Thomas had him start training Thomas in techniques to assist in the lab. Thomas was so valuable to Blalock that he brought him to his new post at Johns Hopkins By the end of his career, Thomas was the Director of Laboratories and had trained a multitude of Hopkins surgeons.
Along with the telling of how Thomas and Blalock worked together to perfect this surgery and do something everyone thought could never be done (perform surgery on the hearth), this story provides a glimpse at the issues of segregation that seem so foreign to many today. I have some memories of seeing colored signs in the deep south as a young child. P kept asking about some of the different things being done in the movie (e.g. Thomas stepping OFF the sidewalk to let the white individuals walk past) and why they would do it.
Now, I will caution that there are a few times when profanity is used in this film. Compared to most mainstream movies or even most made for cable shows, it seemed almost tame and only appeared at times when Dr. Blalock had extreme frustration and succumbed to that language like many others do. The other thing that might be upsetting to some is the graphic depiction of surgeries on dogs and later a baby. P said that he found seeing the blue babies a bit unnerving (as all those parents most definitely felt.)
I HIGHLY recommend this film to anyone wanting to see something that will move you. I definitely want to see this film again and plan to have R watch it as well. D’s still a little young to have any true appreciation of the film. I could write a LOT more about this film and what I loved, but would rather just give you a taste so that everyone can enjoy this movie. For my homeschooling friends, this film could compliment history studies for the 20th century or even science/health given the strong tie in of the research with the story line.
I did take a quick look for how you can see this movie. Anyone with HBO can catch it later this month (check the schedule for when) and Netflix has the DVD available. And, there’s always the option to just order up a copy!
This post has been submitted for inclusion in The Christian Home Issue 35 hosted here. As the featured columnist for the Movies and Music category, you can be looking forward to weekly posts on what we are watching or music we’ve enjoyed.
Feel free to leave suggestions for me as well that are family friendly or uplifting for adults. While I have movies and some music selections in mind, I’m always on the lookout for other great choices.