Monday, April 5, 2010

DVD Review - The Blind Side

The Blind Side - ****

Directed by:  John Lee Hancock

Starring:  Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron

Review:  I heard all the good reviews and everything else but I still wasn't buying that this movie was as good as everyone was saying.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was just as good as people were saying it was.

The movie centers around Michael Oher, who is a behemoth of a man but you wouldn't be able to tell by his personality.  Oher is a very quiet man who comes from a very broken home/background.  Oher comes from a very bad part of Memphis with a drug addicted mother who is never around and can't even remember the name of Michael's real father.

Through the help of a family friend and a football coach who believes in Christian kindness (although might have ulterior motives), Oher gets into a very elite private school in the Memphis suburbs.  It is at this school people take a notice to Michael ("Big Mike" as they call him, which he doesn't like).  It is also here were he meets the Tuohy children.  One night, when driving home from the school play, the Tuohy's spot Oher walking along the side of the road in the rain and cold and invite him back to their house so he has a warm place to sleep for the night.

This starts the relationship between the Tuohy's and Michael Oher.  We are mostly familiar with the story, the Tuohy's end up adopting Michael, helping him learn to play football and he eventually gets a scholarship to college and getting drafted in the first round of the NFL draft.  However, football is not the main focus of this story.  The main focus is how this family endears itself to Michael and takes him in despite all the obstacles in the way.

Michael is African-American and comes from a very bad part of Memphis.  When the Tuohy's accept Michael into their home it creates quite a stir.  Having such an imposing looking person of a different race in the suburbs in the south can create some issues.  Jokes and comments are thrown around by the locals but the Tuohy's just shrug them all off.  The Tuohy's know they are doing the right thing by helping Michael in his life and everyone else will have to accept it.

The performances are what really separates this movie.  The actor that plays Oher, Quinton Aaron, does a great job of showing the transformation of someone who is shy and introverted to somebody who is comfortable with himself and his place in life.  This is all fostered by the love from the family, which is spearheaded by the ball-busting Leann Tuohy as played brilliantly by Sandra Bullock.  I didn't really thing her performance could have been Oscar worthy like everyone said, but I was mistaken.  It definitely was.

Bullock's performance would've bordered on caricature had I not seen how the real life Leann Tuohy was.  Bullock nailed the spirit of this take charge southern woman perfectly.  She was able to toe the line between overbearing wife and true Christian who believes in what she is doing.  This was what made her performance great.  Now, the last third of the movie revolved around Oher's recruiting and the issues that arose.  The Tuohy's were all Ole Miss grads and wanted their "son" to go play football for their alma mater.  However, living in Tennessee they competed with the behemoth that is the Volunteer football program and the excellent recruiter Phillip Fulmer.

Oher eventually chooses Ole Miss and an NCAA investigation ensues.  The NCAA doesn't want this to start a trend where wealthy alumni adopt good athletes to get them to go to their schools.  This leads to a couple powerful scenes that I won't give away here, but definitely show the true heart of the movie.

This movie was very well done and definitely in the "tear-jerker" mode, but didn't let itself slip to cheesy.  Everything remained true, real, and genuine which only served the movie better.  Definitely worth your time.

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