The Blind Side Review
Sports movies often follow a common theme – that of the underdog rising up against adversity. It’s a theme that resonates with most moviegoers, perhaps because they can see themselves in that role, or perhaps because they are simply looking for someone to root for. “The Blind Side” is such a film, and while it feels long at times, it delivers well enough on these themes to make this one of the feel-good movies of the holiday season.
“The Blind Side” is based on the true story of Michael Oher (pronounced “oar,” and played by Quinton Aaron), a large black man known to most of those around him as Big Mike. He has struggled through life but is given an opportunity to succeed when he is admitted into a prestigious private high school for his sports prowess. Yet, that success doesn’t come until after Leigh Anne Tuohy (played by Sandra Bullock) invites the young giant into her family and tutors him in both life and football.
What stems from there is a story about success, failure, race, and rising over adversity. In many ways it tackles the same ideas as the recent film “Precious,” but unlike “Precious,” it does so in a light, humorous way. In doing so, “The Blind Side” sets up numerous story lines – so many so that the film often feels a little muddled. The story lines that do play through are intriguing (though sometimes, they themselves are played out too long), but there are enough left dangling that the film feels somewhat incomplete at the end.
Given that this film follows the familiar territory of the sports-movie world, most of its success derives from the performances, which are, throughout, wonderful. Sandra Bullock is convincing in her role as a mother who is striving to do what’s right, despite what those around her think. She plays a powerful woman, with a confident air that offsets the meekness of Big Mike, in a remarkable way. Quinton Aaron delivers incredibly as Big Mike, a role that is mostly silent, yet full of emotion. Jae Head, playing S.J. Tuohy, the young son of Leigh Anne, is incredibly funny, delivering a good deal of the comic relief so prevalent in this movie.
Interestingly enough, the sports themselves play a small role. Aside from a brief opening, football isn’t even introduced until halfway through. It is because of this that the characters stand out so remarkably. Yet, at the same time, it often feels like we are waiting for the sports themes of the movie to come into play – and once they do, the pacing feels a lot better.
“The Blind Side” is the kind of movie that has you smiling at the end. It’s the kind of movie that has you rooting for its heroes. It’s the kind of movie that, at times, even makes you want to cheer. While the biggest problem is its overall flow, it succeeds at being funny when it needs to be and is, overall, enjoyable.