Let the record show that I am not really a football fan. I watch the occasional Cowboys game because of my hometown allegiance, and I watch the Super Bowl because it is usually a good game and the commercials are great. That said, I love a good sports movie: Rocky, Hoosiers, Invincible, etc. Thinking that The Blind Side was a movie in the same vein of “underdog conquers all at unbelievable odds”, I was quite looking forward to it.
I was pleasantly disappointed to find that it is far more.
The Blind Side is certainly about an underdog, and he does conquer all, but that is not at all the sum total of the movie. It is the story of Michael Oher, the present-day right tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, at the time his life was turned completely around. Michael is one of 10 or more children born to crack- addicted mother, placed in the foster care system at a young age. With no permanent home and essentially abandoned by the public school system, Michael (Quinton Aaron) is accepted into a private, Christian high school when he, with his immense size and apparent athletic ability, is noticed by the school’s football coach. Due to his abysmal education, he is immediately dismissed by almost all of his teachers as a hopeless case.
Enter Collins Tuohy (Lily Collins), volleyball player and classmate of Michael’s. On a cold, wintry night after their daughter’s volleyball game, Sean Tuohy (Tim McGraw) and his wife Leigh Anne (Sandra Bullock) see Michael walking down the street in nothing but a pair of shorts and a thin T-shirt. They stop their car, invite Michael to stay the night with them, and begin the journey that eventually brings Michael into their family and onto the football field.
Sounds like a typical ABC Family original movie, right? You might think the premise too impossible and the ending too good to be true; it must be Hollywood’s attempt at an emotionally manipulative, feel-good, family-friendly holiday film, right? You’d be only half-wrong.
It IS a feel-good, family-friendly, holiday film! It does seem impossibly premised and too good to be true, but what makes all of this so genuinely emotional (and not manipulative in any way) is that it all actually happened! (Or was based on true events, anyway.) I feel bad for the person who walks out of this movie without a smile in his heart, if not on his face. It is a sweet (and funny!) movie about a family who stepped well outside of their societal boundaries to invite a stranger into their home, to love him, and to joyfully accept the change that he brought into their lives. Three-point-Eight Babbles, which I’ll round up to Four*.
Interview with Michael Lewis, author of The Blind side
CBS’ Diamond in the rough
*I would have given this a solid Four Babbles, but I felt that the character of the daughter, Collins, was a little weak. Upon watching the above videos and realizing how much more she could have been utilized in the movie, I deducted a few points for the director making Collins’ movie character less interesting than her real-life character.