Blind Side, The

Rating:

Netflix Finally Sent It To Me!

Main Cast: Sandra Bullock, Quinton Aaron

Director: John Lee Hancock

Sure, it was 28 days after initial release, but I forgive them.  The Blind Side, is, after all, a football movie that I once swore I would never, ever see.  But with the film getting nominated for Best Picture, Sandra Bullock winning the Oscar for Best Actress for her role as Leigh Anne Tuohy and Sandra withstanding a humiliatingly public personal scandal with grace and class, well, I had to see it.  I’m not sorry I did.

The film takes the real story of several years in the life of a teenaged Michael Oher and turns it into an hour and a half of fairly predictable Hollywood feel-good drama.  If it wasn’t based in fact I would probably slam it for being too predictable, but I guess life just sometimes turns out like a Hollywood screenplay.

Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) is a homeless kid from the projects in Memphis.  After a strange turn of fate lands him in a private Christian school, he is taken under the formidable wing of Leigh Anne Tuohy (Bullock) and her family.   The film chronicles Michael’s journey from homeless and nearly illiterate to unlikely big brother and football star.

First, let’s be really clear.  I neither like nor understand football.  This is a movie with more than a few scenes dedicated to the game.  I was a little clueless as to the import of various calls and and plays and I don’t know (and don’t care) if those were real college coaches playing themselves.  But this is a fairly minor complaint – as is true of most sports movies this is more about the personalities involved than the actual sport in which they are engaged.

Bullock does indeed hit it out of the park with her portrayal of Leigh Anne.  Cast against her usual rom/com type, she is damn good at being tough but remarkably caring.  I still haven’t seen all the Oscar nominated performances, but I definitely don’t think the Academy was off the wall with this statue.

The other performances that stand out are those of Quinton Aaron as Michael and Jae Head as the youngest Tuohy sibling, SJ.  Aaron does a nice job with Michael – not stellar, but solid.  This is a hard role – the “gentle giant” with a horrible past getting it all together through white people and football.  But Aaron sells it.

Jae Head is another story altogether.  Whoever cast this kid is a genius.  He isn’t textbook cute, but damn, he has personality to spare.  As the first kid to approach Michael at school to the spitfire who sits in on all the recruiting visits, he sparkles with just the kind of innocent toughness you would expect from the child of Leigh Anne.  Terrific performance from a kid I hope we see more of in years to come.

The movie is sweet, trite and predictable and makes me think that maybe the whole world doesn’t suck after all.  Knowing that Michael Oher is a real man whose life was really changed dramatically by this family tempers the ooze of potential sap and the strong performances make the film a very enjoyable watch.  I’m not sorry I missed it on the big screen but I’m glad I finally saw The Blind Side.  It didn’t blow my socks off, but I enjoyed it thoroughly and came out smiling.  3 1/2 stars and a solid recommendation.

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