The Blind Side is Eye-Opening
Reel Rating: 4 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for one scene involving brief violence, drug and sexual references
Released in Theaters: Nov. 20, 2009
Genre: Drama, Sports
Runtime: 128 minutes
Directed by: John Lee Hancock
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron, Jae Head, Lily Collins, Kathy Bates
SYNOPSIS: Quinton Aaron stars as Michael Oher, an oversized, homeless boy who becomes an All American football player and first round NFL draft pick with the help of a caring woman (Sandra Bullock) and her family.
Sex/Nudity: Nothing explicit, but some ogling and references to "tapping that"; a married couple kiss.
Violence/Gore. References to children being taken away from their mother; a fight scene in a drug house includes guns, but no shots are fired; football field action and violence.
Profanity: Includes "ass," "hell," "damn," "tits" and "oh my God."
Which Kids Will Like It? Kids 10 and older who like sports or inspirational movies. Though because of the mature themes and content, I don’t recommend it for kids younger than 12.
Will Parents Like It? Yes, it’s an inspiring story with a good message about helping others, even when people think you’re weird for doing so.
REVIEW: Although I love Sandra Bullock, her movies have been hit and miss with me the past few years. I loved "The Proposal," but "All About Steve" just didn’t work for me.
But she returns to form with "The Blind Side," in which she plays Leigh Anne Tuohy, a wealthy woman who helps out a homeless African American boy. The movie is a true story based on a book by journalist Michael Lewis chronicling Michael Oher’s experiences.
The movie begins with a look at the Tuohy’s life. Leigh Anne is married to Sean (Tim McGraw), and they have two kids, son S.J. (Jae Head) and daughter Collins (Lily Collins). Sean has made a fortune on fast food restaurants, including Taco Bell, so they live in a mansion with all the finer things in life.
Meanwhile, Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) has a tragic past, including being ripped away from his drug-addicted mother at a young age. He’s been in and out of foster homes, but is now homeless and somehow ends up at the same school as the Tuohy kids. When Leigh Anne sees Michael walking down the street one night after a school event, she brings him home for the night, but he ends up staying and becoming part of the family.
Leigh Anne’s initial fears that he might rob them blind are put to rest when he neatly folds up his blankets, sits politely at the dining room table while the rest of the family eats in front of the TV, and is shy and quiet, calling her "ma’am."
The film goes into the differences between his life and the privileged Tuohys, not the least of which is his color and size. He’s huge, and ends up playing on the school football team. A skilled player with a protective nature, college coaches get into a bidding war for him, and he ends up becoming an All-American college football star.
There’s only so much you can do in a two-hour movie, so while it doesn’t go into all of the gritty details of his life and glosses over some of the details, we learn enough to make this movie entertaining. Bullock plays Leigh Anne as a no-nonsense mom with a compassionate and caring heart. Michael helps to break through her staunch personality, and she helps to open him up to the good things in life.
McGraw does a fine job as a husband who loves her, but knows she’s going to go ahead and do whatever she pleases. A standout performance is delivered by Jae Head as their son, who befriends Michael in school, helps him train for the football team, and even negotiates with the college coaches to make sure both he and Michael get the best deal. Kathy Bates plays the tutor who helps him get his grades up enough to get into college.
All in all, "The Blind Side" is entertaining, dramatic, funny, and inspiring, and makes you want to go out and do something good in the world - or at least your own little part of it. You just never know whose life you might be changing for the better.
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM:
One Reel - Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels - Coulda been a contender
Three Reels - Something to talk about.
Four Reels - You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels - Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.
Jane Louise Boursaw is a freelance journalist specializing in the movie and television industries.