Pros: Bullock. Entertaining movie.
Cons: None for me.
I don't like many sports, but I have enjoyed several movies dealing with sports, including some based on true stories. I was first interested in seeing The Blind Side, the story of Michael Oher, when I first saw the previews.
Teenager Michael Oher has a hard life and doesn't have a real home and he stays where he can. He gets into a private Christian school with some help, but he is struggling. He has never done well in school and really doesn't know how to learn. Several of the students are wary of him, but young Sean Tuohy Jr, S.J., talks to him. Just before Thanksgiving, the Tuohy family is driving home when they see Michael walking, wearing clothes not suited for the cold weather. Leigh Anne, S.J.'s mother, steps in and decides to take Michael home with them.
It isn't long before Michael is a permeant part of the Tuohy household. Leigh Anne and Sean, her husband, become his legal guardians and get him a tutor, Miss Sue, to help him improve his grades. Michael starts playing football, and after a pep talk from Leigh Anne, he becomes a strong player with college recruiters interested in him.
The Blind Side is based on the book The Blind Side: The Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis. I haven't read the book, but from what I have learned about it, part of it is focused on Michael Oher's story and the other part is focused on how the game of football has changed to make the position of the left tackle more important. The movie does mention that change to the game, though it is focused on Michael and what was going on in his life around the time he started at the school and met the Tuohys.
The first several moments of The Blind Side feature a voice over by Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne explaining some things about football, especially focused on an event in one game that helped lead to the left tackle becoming more important to the game. That lasts a few minutes and while I did learn something from it, people who know more about the game may not see the point of that part. How Michael gets into the private religious school is covered next and then it isn't long before the Tuohy family comes into his life. The movie is mostly focused on how Michael adjusts to the changes in his life. Some information about Michael and the family is shared at the end of the movie. Footage from when Michael was picked in the NFL draft is shown, along with several pictures of him and the family during the credits.
The tone for The Blind Side is mostly serious and the movie does touch on several serious things. Not a lot about Michael's past is shared, though what does come out isn't that pleasant. It does seem like he has been able to block out a lot of what he'd been through, which is understandable. I have heard that some people feel the movie is racist. I didn't think it was. Yes, most of the characters are white, though Michael really did end up going to a school where he was one of the few nonwhite students and he was taken in by a white family. Michael was from a bad part of town where many of the people ended up involved in crime in some way. I don't think the movie was saying that all African Americans end up mixed up in some kind of crime. It just happened that the people that Michael had to deal with earlier in his life. In addition to all the serious things that come up during the movie, there are also a lot of light hearted moments. Those are usually provided by something that Leigh Anne says. She has her own way of looking at things and getting things done that does add humor to several scenes. Sean's reactions to Leigh Anne, especially when she is going after someone else, are also humorous.
Football is important to Michael's life, but it doesn't play a huge part in The Blind Side. Things are well underway before he starts playing and then only some of the practices and games are shown. One entertaining sequence shows how S.J. helps Michael with his training. There is more emphasis on how Michael and the Tuohy family bonded and how they all changed. I was surprised that more football wasn't shown, but I wasn't disappointed. I think the balance works for the movie and helps to make it stronger overall.
Leigh Anne is a very strong, determined woman who is use to getting what she wants. Once she decides she wants something to happen, she is willing to do just about anything to reach that goal. She has her own way of looking at some things and she isn't shy about expressing her opinion. Sandra Bullock does an amazing job with the part. It is different from most of the parts I've seen her play before. Leigh Anne's husband Sean is frequently around, though he isn't featured as much as she is. Sean is sometimes slower to agree to certain things, but he ends up fully supporting his wife. Sean also fully accepts Michael into the family. Tim McGraw handles the part fine.
Michael is very quiet when he first starts at the new school. He has a very troubled past, though he does seem to want better for his life. He is a very kind, protective young man who comes to think of the Tuohy family as his family. Quinton Aaron does really well with the part. For the first part of the movie, he doesn't have many lines, but he is able to convey so much with just his expressions. S.J. is Leigh Anne and Sean's youngest child. S.J. quickly accepts Michael and thinks of his as his older brother. Jae Head does really well with the part. He never makes the character annoying.
Collins is S.J.'s older sister. She is a cheerleader and plays volleyball. She seems unsure what to think about Michael at first, but she also accepts him as a member of the family. Collins isn't shown as much as her brother, so Lily Collins doesn't have as much to do in the movie. Miss Sue is the tutor who works with Michael to help him get his grades up. She can be outspoken, but she does come to care for Michael. Kathy Bates handles the part really well. Several real former college football coaches turn up briefly in the movie.
Quinton Aaron - Michael Oher
Kathy Bates - Miss Sue
Sandra Bullock - Leigh Anne Tuohy
Lily Collins - Collins Tuohy
Jae Head - S.J. Tuohy
Tim McGraw - Sean Tuohy
John Lee Hancock - Director
The Blind Side is a wonderful movie based on a true story that doesn't turn too preachy. The movie is definitely worth watching and I think it is one of the best movies I've seen this year. Fans of Sandra Bullock should give it a chance.
Sandra Bullock Movie Reviews
All About Steve ~ Demolition Man ~ Miss Congeniality ~ Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous ~ Murder by Numbers ~ Practical Magic ~ Premonition ~ The Proposal ~ Speed ~ Two Weeks Notice ~ The Vanishing ~