“The Blind Side” isn’t a black or white thing. It’s a heartwarming display of human decency, created to make you genuinely feel good as you leave the theater.
Having seen the trailer almost a dozen times (and gotten choked up every time), I expected this movie to be a tearjerker. Excluding some brief eye watering, there were no waterworks here. Still, this movie (opens today, 11/20) manages to evoke a wide range of emotions.
In 2009, Michael Oher was drafted by the NFL to play as an offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens. “The Blind Side” is the true story of how he made it there with the love and support of one family.
Despite being a young black teen with nonexistent grades who grew up in an environment full of violence and drugs, Oher (Quinton Aaron) was recruited to potentially play sports for a private Christian School. One night while walking along a road in the rain, he’s taken in for the night by Leigh Anne Touhy (Sandra Bullock) without hesitation. He ends up becoming a permanent part of her family, which includes her husband Sean (Tim McGraw) and their children S.J. (Jae Head) and Collins (Lily Collins).
What makes “The Blind Side” entertaining is that it’s not only a football movie; it also keeps itself from being too dark or too fluffy. It offers insight into Michael’s past, but it avoids delving deep into his psyche. The Touhy family is wealthy, but there’s never a sense that this movie is trying to depict them as saints and Michael as some charity case. Instead, directors chose to focus on the relationship between Michael and the Touhys.
It’s weird watching this movie, because the story looks generic and cliché, but it doesn’t feel that way. That’s mainly because the acting is so much better than you’d expect. Sandra Bullock is phenomenal; she takes center stage and never looks back, convincing us that Leigh Anne’s a loving mother figure who demands respect. Her fiery attitude and witty tongue are the perfect compliment to Michael’s calm, quiet nature.
Though a man of few words, Quinton Aaron lets Michael’s facial expression do all the talking. The mother-son interaction between Leigh Anne and Michael will make your insides melt with happiness.
Mix in some football and quality comic relief from Leigh Anne’s son, S.J., to go along with its many feel-good moments, and “The Blind Side” is a genuinely good family flick. It’s got more heart than most Hollywood films today, and it’s not afraid to show it.