Release Date: November 20th, 2009
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Michael Oher(Quinton Aaron) is a homeless 18-year-old from a broken home, struggling to find a place to sleep every night. While living with his friend, Michael is taken to the private school Wingate Christian where he receives a scholarship so he can play sports. Michael is severely unprepared for the high class learning at Wingate and struggles to fit in and pass classes. All the teachers believe Michael to just be a big dumb kid except for his Biology teacher Mrs. Boswell(Kim Dickens). Mrs. Boswell decides to give Michael a verbal exam and realizes that his problem is that he has a very low reading level but that he pays attention in class and absorbs the information he is given.
While leaving a volleyball game for their daughter Collins(Lily Collins), Leigh Anne Tuohy(Sandra Bullock) and her husband Sean Tuohy(Tim McGraw) see Michael walking along the street towards the gym. They stop to ask him if he has a place to stay and when he says no, the Tuohy's invite him to stay in their house. When the Tuohy's awake in the morning, Leigh Anne finds Michael walking down the driveway. Leigh Anne tells Michael that he can stay with the Tuohy's as long as possible. Leigh Anne decides to take Michael to where he thought his mom lived so they could pick up some of his clothes. When they arrive at an apartment on the opposite side of town, Michael sees that his mom was evicted and that he doesn't know where she is now.
Leigh Anne decides to take Michael to a big and tall store to get him some new clothes where Michael picks out an assortment of striped rugby shirts. At the Tuohy's home, Michael begins to form a close friendship with the Tuohy's son S.J.(Jae Head). As Michael begins to live with the Tuohy's, they encourage Michael to go out for football, but before he can do that he has to get his grades up. With the Tuohy's help, Michael is able to get his grades up enough to play football. When try outs begin, Michael does poorly because he had never played before. Leigh Anne is called into school one day after Mr. Tuohy signed off as Michale's medical contact. While at the school, Leigh Anne learns that Michael tested low on his skills test in all categories except protective instincts, in which he got a 98%.
Learning this, Leigh Anne decides to go to football practice to see how Michael is doing. While there she sees Michael struggling and his coach, Coach Cotton(Ray McKinnon), not being supportive. Leigh Anne decides to interrupt practice and fix Michael's problem. she tells him to protect the quarterback like he protected her when they went to the other side of town to find his mother and to protect the running back like he protects S.J. Understanding this concept, Michael does a complete turn around and begins playing like he had been for doing it for years. Coach tells Michael that he is going to have to work hard so he begins training with S.J. non-stop to get into it.
At the first game, Michael starts to play like he did at the beginning of the season because the team runs pass plays and he gets confused. In the stands the Tuohy's watch as Michael gets beat by the opposing teams star linebacker whose father is in the stands making crude comments towards Michael. Michael finally realizes what he has to do and orders the play to run to his side. When it does, Michael hits the linebacker and drives him all the way down field and pushes him over the end field fence as Leigh Anne Tuohy comments that Michael is her son. The rest of the game, Michael dominates and the team goes on to win. S.J., who was filming the game, posts a video of Michael driving the other player down field on the internet and it reaches the offices of some of the best NCAA football programs in the country.
Before long, coaches and scouts from the country's top football programs are coming to Wingate Christian to watch Michael practice. But before Michael can even look at going to play in college, he has to pick up his grades, something he has struggled with all year. To help with his grades, The Tuohy's hire Miss Sue(Kathy Bates), a tutor, who helps Michael study and improve his grades. While trying to become eligible for college football, all of Michael's teachers agree to give him oral exams except for his English professor who tells Leigh Anne that the only way he will pass is by doing well on the written paper due at the end of the year. Michael struggles on what to write about, but with help from Mr. Tuohy Michael was able to find a topic and pass his class.
When Michael is trying to decide on a college to attend he picks Ole Miss, which happened to be the alma mater of both Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy and even Miss Sue. After making his decision, Michael is brought under investigation by the NCAA, who think that the Tuohy's only brought Michael into their family and helped him in school and football so they could convince him to go to Ole Miss. Michael convinces the NCAA that the reason he wanted to go to Ole Miss is because that is where his family, the Tuohy's, went and that he wanted to be more like the family. Michael went on to play four years at Ole Miss and became the number one draft pick for the Baltimore Ravens in the 2009 NFL draft.
Based on the true story of Michael Oher, The Blind Side delivers a powerfully dramatic story and shows that it is one of the best films of the year. True stories always seem to do well in theaters. While people love to watch huge blockbusters, tons of action, major laughs etc... that is typically involved with our movies nowadays, it seems what they like even more are stories about real life. Such is the case with The Blind Side.
The movie is based primarily on the book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis which documents Oher's rough upbringing all the way through his football career. The movie is being haled as one of the best ones of the year and I can see why. Newcomer Quinton Aaron gave a powerful performance and Sandra Bullock gave one of her best performances of her career.
This film is one of those that finds a nice balance between genres. While primarily a drama about hard times and different walks of life, the film does incorporate other genres, like comedy, into the film. I like that it didn't focus solely on drama. I think it ruins movies if you have a dram overload, like the recent movie Precious. Precious was all drama while The Blind Side was dramatic, funny, heart warming, enjoyable and just all around good. Sandra Bullock was spectacular as Leigh Anne Tuohy. It seemed that Bullock got back to her roots of acting and gave her all for this film, and it payed off. Bullock seemed to really be comfortable in the role and really made the character her own. Quinton Aaron also did an excellent job as the young Michale Oher. The 6'10" actor seemed really comfortable on screen and appeared that he could handle a role like this. I would bet we will see more of Aaron in the future as he continues his career.
As for the story, its hard to critique being as it is a true story and didn't come from somebody's imagination. What I can critique is how it was portrayed and directed however. Coming from director John Lee Hancock who did such films as The Rookie(2002) and The Alamo(2004), this movie was shot really well. The direction of the film was good and it did a good job of showing contrast between the suburban well off lifestyle of the Tuohy family and the run down, hard way of life seen in the ghettos of the film.
Overall I was very pleased with this film. It wasn't on my "must see" list and, to be honest, the only reason I saw it was because I was invited to go by a group of friends. But I can honestly say that I am very happy I went to see it because it truly was a heart warming experience. I have yet to shed a tear over entertainment. Be it on tv or in dramatic movies, nothing really makes me choke up and cry. While a movie may be touching, sad, dramatic, heart warming etc... nothing ever works on me like that. But The Blindside almost, key word being almost, made me shed a tear, which says something about how this movie is. I will say that this movie really is one of the best movies of the year and definitely one you will not want to miss.
I give The Blind Side 9 Blind Sides out of 10
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