The Devil Effect in Films: 'Legally Blonde' and 'The Blind Side'

Categories: Film

In our complex world, judgments often precede job hires, and first impressions wield a powerful influence. This essay delves into the intriguing psychological phenomena known as the Halo and Devil Effect, examining their portrayal in the cinematic narratives of Legally Blonde and The Blind Side. These films serve as captivating mirrors reflecting societal biases and offering profound insights into the transformative power of personal growth.

The Halo and Devil Effect Defined

Before delving into their portrayal in films, let's unravel the essence of the Halo and Devil Effect.

The Halo Effect involves overrating an individual based on positive initial impressions, while the Devil Effect is its counterpart—underrating someone due to negative first perceptions. These effects often intertwine, creating a dynamic interplay that significantly influences how individuals are perceived and treated.

Legally Blonde: A Transformation Story

The cinematic canvas of Legally Blonde unfolds the transformative journey of Elle Woods. Elle steps into the hallowed halls of Harvard, only to face the harsh pangs of the Devil Effect due to her bubbly personality and sorority background.

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Her initial appearance, reminiscent of a stereotypical "dumb blonde," becomes the canvas for criticism and judgment, setting the stage for the Devil Effect to take center stage.

However, Elle's character defies these stereotypes. Initially motivated by a desire to win back her boyfriend, Elle finds herself in a murder trial where her intelligence and legal acumen shine through. This transformation triggers the Halo Effect, challenging preconceived notions and earning her the respect that transcends superficial judgments.

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The movie subtly encourages viewers to look beyond appearances and stereotypes, emphasizing the potential for growth and change within us all.

Workplace Bias and Beauty

Legally Blonde not only explores personal transformation but also delves into the broader issue of workplace bias based on appearance. A scholar from Above The Law introduces the notion of the "eye candy factor" in professional settings. The scholar argues that attractiveness can wield influence in workplace dynamics positively, pointing out the preference for aesthetically pleasing colleagues.

While Legally Blonde's narrative suggests not judging solely based on appearance, the scholar's perspective introduces a counterpoint, suggesting that looks do matter in professional environments. This dynamic reflects the ongoing discourse about the role of appearance in the workplace, adding depth to the exploration of the Halo and Devil Effect.

The Blind Side: Overcoming Prejudice

Shifting our focus to The Blind Side, the film introduces an African American male navigating the complexities of racial prejudice and stereotypes. The protagonist faces the Devil Effect as his physical appearance and background trigger biases and judgments. People, unaware of his potential, perceive him as a potential threat due to societal stereotypes.

As the narrative unfolds, the Halo Effect comes into play when the protagonist excels in football. His athletic prowess challenges preconceived notions, sparking support and admiration. The film demonstrates that breaking free from stereotypes requires proving oneself, and achievements can shift perceptions positively, leading to a transformation from the Devil to the Halo Effect.

Psychological Insights

Both Legally Blonde and The Blind Side provide profound insights into societal biases and the psychology behind the Halo and Devil Effect. These films serve as mirrors reflecting the awareness of psychological phenomena in our daily lives.

Psychological theories like the Halo and Devil Effect underscore the importance of understanding our biases and challenging societal norms. Elle and The Blind Side's protagonist become vessels for these lessons, proving that no book should be judged solely by its cover. These characters exemplify the capacity for change and growth, urging viewers to think before acting and refrain from hasty judgments.

Impact on Society

Examining these cinematic narratives through the lens of the Halo and Devil Effect reveals their broader impact on societal attitudes and behaviors. Both films highlight the consequences of snap judgments and the potential for individuals to overcome biases and stereotypes.

Legally Blonde challenges the conventional wisdom that associates intelligence with appearance. Elle's journey from being dismissed as a "dumb blonde" to earning respect as a competent lawyer challenges viewers to reconsider their own biases and preconceived notions about others. The film encourages a shift in societal attitudes, advocating for a more inclusive and open-minded perspective.

The Blind Side, on the other hand, addresses racial stereotypes and prejudices. The Devil Effect, evident in the initial judgments placed on the protagonist, gives way to the Halo Effect as his talents and achievements become apparent. This narrative prompts viewers to reflect on the societal biases that individuals face based on race and challenges them to question and confront these prejudices.

Challenges and Progress

While these films contribute to a greater understanding of the Halo and Devil Effect, it is essential to acknowledge that societal biases persist. The workplace bias explored in Legally Blonde remains a prevalent issue, with debates surrounding the impact of appearance on professional success.

The Blind Side's narrative reflects progress in challenging racial stereotypes, but it also underscores the ongoing need for societal change. The film serves as a reminder that while individual success stories inspire, systemic challenges persist, requiring collective efforts to overcome ingrained biases.


In conclusion, Legally Blonde and The Blind Side offer valuable perspectives on the Halo and Devil Effect, illuminating the transformative power of personal growth and the impact of societal biases. These films advocate for looking beyond stereotypes, fostering empathy, and promoting a more compassionate and open-minded society. The narratives challenge us to reflect on our own biases, urging us to think before we judge, and emphasizing the potential for positive change within ourselves and our communities.

Updated: Jan 02, 2024
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The Devil Effect in Films: 'Legally Blonde' and 'The Blind Side'. (2016, Sep 15). Retrieved from

The Devil Effect in Films: 'Legally Blonde' and 'The Blind Side' essay
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