I don’t particularly like Sandra Bullock, and I really dislike sports movies, so logic dictates that I would not care for The Blind Side. I saw the trailer, and like everyone else I wrote this film off as a heaping pile of Hallmark Channel goo.
I gritted my teeth and vowed to trudge through the movie, and instead I got one of the biggest surprises (to me) of the year. The Blind Side is good. Really good. Sandra Bullock gives her best performance to date. The story is touching, inspirational and timely.
In the tradition of Rudy, The Rookie, Remember the Titans, and Hoosiers, The Blind Side is based on a true story. Michael Oher is wandering the streets in Memphis in the bitter cold clad only in shorts and a t-shirt, when the wealthy Tuohy family sees him. After the daughter recognizes him from her school, Leigh Anne Touhy (Sandra Bullock) demands that her husband pull over the car.
She offers him a couch to sleep on that night, but after she discovers he has nowhere to go and no clothing, she buys him a wardrobe and eventually offers him a room in their palatial mansion. The Tuohys eventually adopt Michael, who went on to play football at Ole Miss, and currently plays for the Baltimore Ravens as a rookie tackle.
Sandra Bullock steps into the stiletto heels of Memphis socialite and designer Leigh Anne and nails it. Leigh Anne is a feisty, petite spitfire who doesn’t take crap from anyone. Despite her small stature, the woman is tough as nails, has nerves of steel, and wears the pants in the family. Bullock portrays the matriarch with panache, but is quietly effecting in some emotional scenes. Leigh Anne has a tendency to leave the room when she is emotionally overcome, and Bullock easily captures the essence of a tough cookie crumbling. I hope this performance gets remembered come Oscar time.
Tim McGraw is very likable as her patient husband who indulges his wife’s crazy whims, if not admires them. Kathy Bates comes on board as a tutor hired by the family to help Michael make his grades so he can play football. Actor Quinton Aaron portrays the gentle giant Michael, who scarcely speaks the first half of the film, but conveys his emotions through body language and facial expressions.
When he returns to the projects and finds out his mother picked up and left without a word, he just breaks your heart. The fact that he is so quiet is what makes his character so effective. The mere act of sitting at a dining room table on Thanksgiving while the rest of the family takes the holiday for granted and sits in the living room, watching football, speaks volumes more than any words ever could about his character.
Leigh Anne realizes that Michael has never actually had a proper Thanksgiving, and immediately turns off the television and has the whole family join him. It’s a really nice moment, and something that I appreciated about the movie. The movie isn’t preachy, but it does serve as a reminder of socio-economic injustices.
This is a movie you can take your whole family to see, and feel inspired and amazed by Michael’s circumstances and what he overcame. Directed by John Lee Hancock (The Rookie), The Blind Side is a heartwarming film that shows the bright side of human nature.