The Blind Side is a film that will make you cry, make you chuckle and will make you cringe.
In the true tradition of Hollywood feel-good movies this Oscar winning film will pull on your heart strings and give you that warm funny feeling, however much you try to fight it. The Blind Side, came to cinemas in 2009 and was warmly received by crowds and audiences alike. In its opening weekend in November it was the second highest grossing film in the US, coming second only to Twilight: New Moon.
The film went on to receive numerous awards, including an Oscar for Sandra Bullock’s role as the mother and was also nominated for the coveted Best Motion picture at the Academy Awards.
Originally a 2006 novel by Michael Lewis called The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, it was a gamble whether this highly successful book would be translated well to film. For starters the novel is highly technical, with whole chapters dedicated to NFL game play and rules. If you are no nothing about American football, like most of us in the UK, this becomes rather tiresome and detracts from the heart warming story at its core.
The Blind Side is about real-life football player Michael Oher who plays for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL). Brought up on the impoverished side of Memphis, Tennessee, he has the unique opportunity to attend a Christian school. As a natural athlete, the school are keen to educate and nurture him in order to see him playing American football. Once on the sports field, although it takes time to get him to show any aggression, he soon becomes a huge star. Then, Big Mike, as he is called, has a chance meeting with Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy who give him a bed for a night. Big Mike ends up staying and becomes part of the family.
So, what goes wrong? Without giving too much away, questions are raised about why the Tuohy family have taken Michael in. Could it be so he goes to their alma mater, Ole Miss? Sandra Bullock plays the role of Leah Anne Tuohy to perfection, with her perfectly manicured look, soften drawl and good Christian values. She gets across the point perfectly that although she is an all American housewife, she is in control and without her Big Mike would not have gotten where he is.
The character of Big Mike is played by Quinton Aaron. Before this role, Quinton was pretty much an unknown. In fact at the audition, not believing in his own ability, he gave director John Lee Hancock his card saying if he didn’t get the part he would love to do the security on the film. Big Mike says very few words throughout the whole film, so the representation of the character mainly came down to Quinton’s facial expression. Still, he definitely holds his own in the film and plays his character very convincingly.
In fact, pretty much all of the actors fall into their characters well and together really conjure up the feeling of a Christian and Republican part of the world, that here in the UK we know very little about.
Tim McGraw plays the role of Sean Tuohy and Kathy Bates plays Miss Sue, Michael’s tutor.
If you didn’t know this was a true story you would think it was ridiculous. Would a family with such strong right-wing values really let a big black boy, whom they know nothing about, come and live with them?
But it did happen. That is why you can’t help but be moved by it. Despite some really cheesy lines, such as when Leigh Anne’s snooty friends start to praise her for changing Michael’s life and she retorts “No, he’s changing mine”, not to mention the Christian values that are unsubtly peppered throughout. By the end credits you will be weeping as you see pictures of the real Michael Oher and Tuohy family, well I did anyway.
Of course the film barely touches on the bigger issues, such as race and class, but if you can look past that, you can enjoy it for what it is – a family feel-good movie.
The Blind Side was released on Blu-Ray & DVD in the UK on August 9th.