The Blind Side (2010)

26 March 2010

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Teenager Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) is surviving on his own, virtually homeless, when he is spotted on the street by Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock). Learning that the young man is one of her daughter’s classmates, Leigh Anne insists that Michael—wearing shorts and a t-shirt in the dead of winter—come out of the cold. Without a moment’s hesitation, she invites him to stay at the Tuohy home for the night. What starts out as a gesture of kindness turns into something more as Michael becomes part of the Tuohy family despite the differences in their backgrounds. 

Living in his new environment, the teen faces a completely different set of challenges to overcome. And as the family helps Michael fulfill his potential, both on and off the football field, Michael’s presence in the Tuohys’ lives leads them to some insightful self-discoveries of their own.

THE BLIND SIDE IS RELEASED IN CINEMAS NATIONWIDE MARCH 26TH

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"A hugely important message carried by a comically one-dimensional narrative...a must-see for everyone."

Ok so here's the deal: once upon a time Leigh Anne Tuohy was driving down the road in Memphis when she spotted the outcast kid from her children's elite school walking down the road dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, soaked by the cold, pouring rain. When she questioned him it was obvious that he had nowhere to go, nowhere to live. Her human instinct kicked in and she brought him back to her magnificent mansion, took him in and treated him as her own, eventually helping him to turn his life around, find a way to engage with education and excel at American Football - something he is so good at that he now makes a living playing professionally for the Baltimore Ravens. 

In essence, this is a story about compassion conquering adversity, with the hugely inspirational message that you can make a difference and make the world a fairer and therefore better place. I am one hundred percent behind this message. If Sandra & Co can motivate just one person to reach out, talk to their neighbours, raise funds for a cause they believe in and feel empowered that they can change things for the better then I believe that The Blind Side will have served its purpose. Luckily, this film had a massive amount of money invested in it, has already received a huge amount of press and will be screened in cinemas across the globe therefor reaching thousands of people. Based on this the odds are pretty good.

What I really like about the way it's written is the constant upbeat, we can do it, don't you dare try to stop me energy from start to finish. So many change the world films focus on the pain and struggle involved in such a mighty task that you walk out of the cinema feeling pleased about the happy ending but totally overwhelmed to dare do such a thing yourself. It seems like an easier option to let someone else do it, and then go and watch a film about it. But this time, no one cares about the difficulties. Oh no, superwoman Sandra Bullock doesn't give a damn what anyone else thinks, she's gonna do things her way.

Her character is the original go-getter; ex cheerleader, demanding career woman, wife of successful businessman, mother to two overachieving children, charity ambassador and lady who lunches. If she doesn't like it she will shout you down until she gets her way be it colleagues, friends, children or husband. Everyone is so used to her getting what she wants that they don't really bother to stand in her way anymore - they might pretend to a little to humour her but really life is just so much easier if she does things her way.

It's this lack of personality that sits uneasy with me. Are the characters one-dimensional as a tool to make the viewer focus on the message of the importance of giving and not get bogged down with their personal dilemmas? If this really is the case then I'm impressed - that's one hell of a risk to take! But if it's simply the result of lazy writing then I'm disappointed, even if every single cast member does offer a seamless performance. (And by the way, I can't wait to see more of Jae Head - a new Macaulay Culkin in the making??).

Either way I do know that Bullock did not deserve an Oscar for this. I mean sure, her Leigh Anne is a million times more watchable then Miss Congeniality will ever be, but it is still suborn and unimaginative. And don't get me started on the embarrassingly blatant Christianity sub-context of the whole thing, or the suggestion that sport fanaticism is a normal, almost honorable, pastime. My mind truly does boggle...but then I remember that the award has made The Blind Side a household name and I don't mind as much, because at least this way more people will go to see it

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