||The Blind Side
Movie Details: View Here
Video: Widescreen 1.85:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Run Time: 128 min
Synopsis from DVD Cover:
Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) knows little about family. Less about football. What the homeless teen knows are the streets and projects of Memphis. Well-to-do Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) knows little about his world. Yet when she and Michael meet, he's found a home. And the Tuohys have found something just as life-changing: a beloved new son and brother. This real-life story of family and of Michael's growth into a blue-chip football star will have you cheering with its mix of gridiron action and heartwarming emotion. Share the remarkable journey of the college All-American and first-round NFL draft pick who was a winner before he ever stepped onto the playing field.
I went into this one pretty cynical. It is certainly possible for a movie to be a broadly-appealing, mainstream crowd-pleaser feel-good movie and still be a good movie ("Jerry Maguire," for example) but many films that fall into the above description I find to be manipulative and treacly with the emotion kind of shoved down my throat. By half an hour into "The Blind Side" I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't as sentimental as I feared, and its honesty was affecting. I love a good inspirational, tearjerking family-friendly drama as much as the next person, but it has to not make me roll my eyes. Much.
Sadly, that didn't last. The film is a dressed-up Hallmark movie of the week. What bothered me about it was that the central character, a black teenager named Michael Oher, didn't have any agency or presence in the film at all. I'm not sure if it was the actor or the writing, but the kid is basically nothing but a passive object for white people's agendas and character arcs. What did HE think? What did HE feel? We get a few tossed-off lines about him putting things behind him but basically everything we know about him is from what the other characters TELL us, instead of what the character himself shows us. The movie started to lose me around the time they treated us to a really cliché montage of Michael doing summer training with the little kid as his drill sergeant. It was so precious my eyes were rolling out of my head. And that KID. My God, did they put out a casting call for the most obnoxious, overacting child actor ever? I wanted to strangle him. The precociousness was laid on with a trowel.
Everyone in the movie is a saint. Nobody asks any tough questions or delves into anything past the surface. Things just magically happen and we're supposed to accept it. The kid's teachers, who were among the more interesting people, vanish half an hour into the film. We're told that Michael isn't stupid but it's never explained why he can write well but has to have his exams given to him orally. It's just another story about the outsider who teaches the family About What's Important In Life. I kept waiting to find out how Michael grew up having such polite manners when he seems to have come from a pretty awful ghetto where nobody else acted like that. As for Sandra Bullock, yeah she was good, but I didn't think she was such a revelation. It wasn't some groundbreaking performance. It wasn't anything more than I'd expect from a competent actress of her stature, frankly.
It's not a terrible movie. I didn't feel I'd wasted two hours but neither would I really care to watch it again. It just left me kind of cold and feeling a little jerked around emotionally. Would not have been my choice for a Best Picture nominee.
There's a pretty extensive list of short featurettes about the real people who lived this story and how it was brought first to the page and then to the screen, including a ten-minute conversation with Michael Oher that fills in some of what happened after the credits rolled. Some deleted scenes round out the offerings.
A well-made and obnoxiously well-intentioned film that was overpraised as a feel-good panacea against more challenging topics. The story being told could have been more interesting without the greeting-card sensibility with which it was made.