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The Blind Side
Directed by John Lee Hancock (2009)
Howard Schumann (howard16)     Print Article 
Published 2010-03-28 20:15 (KST)   
Howard Schumann rates "The Blind Side" a B+.  <Editor's Note>
In the fact-based film The Blind Side, a burly homeless black teenager Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) is taken in by the family of Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock), a spunky white Christian mother of two and assisted through school until he achieves success as a football player in high school and college, eventually being drafted in the first round by the professional Baltimore Ravens. The film, written and directed by John Lee Hancock and adapted from a book by Michael Lewis, is undemanding entertainment that lacks a great deal of subtlety but is continuously entertaining and emotionally involving and redefines the true meaning of family values.

Michael who is known initially as "Big Mike" has been abandoned by his drug-addicted mother and survives in the slums of Memphis, Tennessee only by his wits. He sleeps where he can find a warm place -- a friend's couch, a Laundromat, a school gym -- when a family friend intervenes and helps him enroll in a private Christian high school. Sensing the boys' potential, football coach Cotton (Ray McKinnon) convinces the administrators of the school to admit him although he knows that he will not be eligible to play football unless he can keep up his grades. Seeing Michael alone wandering the streets, he is given a lift and taken home and made a member of the family by Leigh Anne, an interior designer who lives with her husband Sean (Tim McGraw), teenage daughter Collins (Lily Collins), and SJ (Jae Head) an expressive little boy who provides most of the film's comic moments.

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Living with the Tuohy family allows Michael to learn to trust and to begin to express some of his feelings from a life of poverty and neglect. Michael who is so big that Leigh Anne can hardly find any clothes to buy for him is also gentle and lacks the killer instinct required of a football tackle. Tutored by the adorable SJ and counseled by Leigh Anne to view the team as a family he has to protect, Michael begins to develop his aggressiveness as a left tackle and develops his skills, eventually turning the team into winners. To raise his grades to be eligible for a college scholarship, the Tuohys hire Miss Sue, remarkably performed by Kathy Bates, who admits to the Republican family that she is a Democrat, prompting Sean to remark that he "never thought they would have a black son before they met a Democrat." Besides his grades, however, Michael must overcome several more obstacles that stand in his way before he can enter college.

"The Blind Side" shows Michael Oher achieving a transformation in his life based on his relationship with the family who took him and nurtured him to independence and self-respect. Sandra Bullock delivers an emotionally resonant performance as a woman whose life is enriched by her simple act of kindness and courage to act from her values. While the film breaks no new ground stylistically, it also resists genre cliches, has no movie villains, avoids cheap sentiment, and, in spite of patronizing images in its trailers and advertising posters, is a humorous, heartwarming, and satisfying experience. Ultimately, "The Blind Side" is not a film about sports but about the rewards of showing love and support when it is not always accepted or understood by the community.
©2010 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Howard Schumann

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