"The Blind Side" Movie Review (2009)

11/21/2009 Posted by Admin

Movie Review

The Blind Side

Written and directed by John Lee Hancock, 120 minutes, rated PG-13.

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

It's not very often a film is released with this kind of subject matter that doesn't preach, patronize, or pull any punches. "The Blind Side" is a film about people finding their way, whether they're a 15-year-old homeless kid from the ghetto or a wealthy interior designer seeking meaning in her life.

This is the true story of Michael Oher, who went from a troubled and parentless childhood to professional offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens after being taken in by the wealthy Tuohy family. This is not a traditional sports film, however. Football is an important piece of the puzzle, but it is never held in higher regard than the characters. The film treats football as a sort of metaphor for family, which might seem a bit tired or cheesy if the film itself weren't so grounded in genuine emotion.

Newcomer Quinton Aaron gives a startlingly assured performance as Michael, who begins the film almost entirely detached from the world around him, seemingly crushed by his harsh past and unable to relate to those around him. He's forced to sleep on friends' couches or in the school gymnasium, sneak his laundry into other folks' dryers at the laundromat, and take leftover popcorn bags from the school basketball games for food.

Finally, Leigh Anne Tuohy, played by Sandra Bullock in her first legitimately great performance, sees him on the way home one night and decides to help him. We never quite know why, just that she felt she had to. The whole family takes an immediate liking to Michael, and Liegh and Tuohy patriarch Sean (Tim McGraw) decide to not only let him stay with them but also take it upon themselves to pay for his education, help him find tutoring, and raise him as their own alongside their two children (wonderfully portrayed by Lily Collins and Jae Head, the latter of which serves as great comedic relief).

Having a family opens him up. His grades improve (though not without the help of a tutor, played with verve by Kathy Bates). He makes friends. And, of course, he joins the high school football team, and opportunities finally open up for him.

Probably the most refreshing aspect of "Blind Side" is the complete lack of blatant focus on race relations. In the hands of Spike Lee or, worse, Tyler Perry, this might have been a completely different movie. Yes, there are times when it's acknowledged, even negatively by certain characters, that the Tuohy's have taken in an African-American child (one of Bullock's more snooty friends asks her if she's taken the boy in because of "white guilt"), but it is far from the film's point. This is about family, regardless of race, and few films are capable of such even-handedness. It's beyond admirable. It's miraculous.

By avoiding excessive cliche and maintaining a simple and optimistic attitude throughout, and with a healthy dose of comedy, "The Blind Side" ends up being one of the best sports films of recent years. A thoroughly entertaining and heartfelt drama.

Grade:  B

View the trailer for "The Blind Side" here.  Thoughts on the movie?

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  1. jcamp2020 said...

    Excellent review. Hits points that, in reflection, are important to the film. Sandra Bullock was amazing. I found myself wanting to "Tivo" back to catch some of the quick comments that were flying about. Oh, well, that's why I'll also buy the DVD. I want to see it again.

  2. smartshopper2 said...

    I really want to see this movie, am glad to hear from your review that it is a preachy kind of film.

  3. shiftless said...

    One reason I really liked this film is because it's the first reasonably accurate portrayal of southern life and culture I've seen in a while. It seems like they might have actually hired some southern actors for this one and did some real voice training for the others. It really breaks the suspension of disbelief when a character is supposed to be from the south, but who talks and acts like he's from upstate New York, you know? If people in other states want to know what the upper levels of society in the South are like, and also what the ghettos are like, watch this movie and you will know. It did get a little sappy at a few points, and there are some inaccuracies. In fact, the movie has terrible flaws. In its defense, the movie is in the awkward position of having to fit a LONG story into a single movie, since splitting it into two movies wouldn't quite work. So they're already having to cut out a lot of material, yet the film still feels LONG. There are a lot of really slow parts in the middle that drag on. The film does however score enough points through its upbeat, positive attitude and great characters to get you through the slow spots. Speaking of which, there are some really great ones and some fantastic performances, especially by Sandra Bullock. I have to be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of hers, but after seeing this movie I have a lot more respect for her as an actor. She nailed the role. All in all, it's an enjoyable feel good movie that I would definitely recommend seeing.