The Blind Side

What a wonder it is to find Sandra Bullock having the two biggest movies of her career (one sure to get her an Oscar nomination) and the most critically reviled film of her career all in the same year.  After the enormous financial success of this summer’s rom-com “The Proposal” and the stink that “All About Steve” left behind, Bullock bounces back with the most successful sports film of all time.  Does it deserve such a title?  Well I would look to “The Natural,” “The Wrestler,” “Rocky,” “Miracle,” “Raging Bull” and several others (classic and more recent) ahead of “Blind Side,” but I can’t deny its wide appeal.

This movie has all the makings of a major hit—taking a proven formula to tell the story of homeless African-American Michael Oher, taken in by the upscale white conservative Touhy family (Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw) while attending a Christian prep school.  The family gives Michael a room and a bed, eventually adopts him and helps him to earn solid enough grades to play high school football and earn a college scholarship–which ultimately sends him to NFL stardom later on.

When a flick is as likable and sugary as this, it’s hard to knock it.  Even though every frame feels done before, the film nevertheless engages with its Capra-esque tone and feel.  The inspirational, feel-good factor reaches to the sky here (especially that it’s based on a true story).  Sandra Bullock takes on a driven, strong-willed maternal figure that is likely to land her the big golden statue. Michael (newcomer Quinton Aaron), the underdog hero of the film, is a gentle giant of few words (is there any other kind?) with a giving spirit underneath a blanket of silence.  The Touhy family brings him out of his shell to confront the violence and unfortunate environment he grew up in.  Between Bullock and Aaron, these two actors create an unstoppable force of melodrama that captivates the audience whether or not you want to surrender to it. Bullock holds our attention—giving us the best kind of mom—the kind you don’t want to mess with, a performance that commands the screen. Quinton Aaron takes our hearts with puppy-dog eyes and restraint that instantly generates that lump in the throat,  the kind that carries us through this formal studio manufacturing of a movie.  We know exactly where “The Blind Side” is headed (whether you know the source material or not) and we gladly go along with it anyway.  Eventually it becomes apparent that the film has very little to do with football or sports in general.  It’s a film about motherhood, about family, and about hope.  It’s hard to resist.

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Rating: 4.4/5 (5 votes cast)