Distributed By: Warner Bros.
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
How much can a simple act of kindness achieve? What if that act of kindness was followed by another? What if, in addition to that initial kindness, you through in a willingness to believe in the person for whom you have committed this act of kindness? What can be possible then? Well, in the movies, anything can happen. But when the movie is based upon a real life occurrence, that’s nothing short of amazing. That’s the tale of The Blind Side.
Based on the book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis, The Blind Side begins with a look at how Lawrence Taylor changed the face of football by placing the emphasis on the left tackle, the man who protects the quarterback’s blind side. But the real story of this movie is the tale of Michael Oher, offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens. His is a story unimaginable in this day and age, a time when the emphasis is on looking out for yourself and not others.
At seventeen, Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) simply could not get a break. Taken from his crack-addicted mother at an early age, Michael has bounced around from foster home to foster home, never finding permanence. He is brought to Wingate Christian School by the father of a friend whose couch he has been sleeping on. Realizing the natural athletic ability of Michael Oher, the school’s athletic coach makes a case for him to be registered at the school despite his limited schooling. Teachers are at a loss as to what to do for him, but one educator sees the potential in Michael, recognizing his ability to absorb information.
Although Michael has finally found a place in a decent school, he still doesn’t have anywhere permanent to live. Neighbors couches, local Laundromats and the school gym are temporary fixes. On a cold, rainy night, he is spotted by Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock), a spunky interior designer with an eye for all things special. Discovering that Michael is a schoolmate of her daughter Collins (Lily Collins) and a friend to her son SJ (Jae Head), Leigh Anne asks Michael if he has a place to stay for the night. When he finally confides that he has nowhere to go, Leigh Anne offers him her couch.
A one night stay turns into a many night stay as Leigh Anne and her husband Sean (Tim McGraw) realize that Michael is a diamond in the ruff – a huge guy who never uses his size for intimidation and possesses the utmost in respect and manners. Moved by the difficulties Michael has suffered his entire young life and hoping to ensure a better future for the boy, the Tuohy’s adopt him.
Meanwhile, Coach Cotton (Ray McKinnon) is waiting for his prize athlete to develop on the football field. Unfortunately, Michael generally does not use his size to push people around, a huge problem in the game of football. Leigh Anne Tuohy to the rescue! By drawing a coalition between the members of his team and the members of his family, Leigh Anne gets Michael to understand that he must protect his teammates at all cost, much the same as he would any one of his family members. Most importantly, Michael must learn how to protect his quarterback’s blind side.
Michael begins to excel at football, eventually earning the attention of college football coaches everywhere. Offers pour in for Michael, but when the Touhy’s realize that Michael’s grades aren’t high enough for him to earn an athletic scholarship, things seem desperate. Of course, you can never say never to Leigh Ann, who believes in Michael so much that she is willing to hire a tutor (Kathy Bates) to see him through the rest of the school year and attain his goals.
I wouldn’t be ruining the ending of this film by telling you that Michael Oher eventually goes to the University of Mississippi and becomes a first round draft pick for the Baltimore Ravens. After all, The Blind Side is a true story and Michael Oher is still playing football as an offensive tackle today.
Receiving numerous nominations and awards, The Blind Side was a critically acclaimed hit in the theaters. Critics couldn’t get enough of this film and I agree wholeheartedly. The Blind Side just proves how far a person can go if they have a support system of people who are willing to believe in them. The kindness of the Touhy family is unprecedented in this day and age. After all, how many people are willing to take in someone they don’t even know walking down the street on a cold, rainy night simply because they had no place to go. Not many, especially not in recent years. What this family did to turn life around for Michael Oher is remarkable and yet, if you ask them, the Touhy’s would tell you that Michael Oher coming into their lives was a blessing and that the benefit was indeed mutual.
Sandra Bullock has received praise for some movies in her past, but her performance in The Blind Side has earned her quite a bit of attention and accolades. Despite some excellent acting on her part, before taking on the role of Erin Brockovich, Julia Roberts received very little praise for her work. After Erin Brokovich, Roberts was finally taken seriously as an actress. The Blind Side is Sandra Bullock’s Erin Brokovich. Having witnessed the real-life Leigh Anne Touhy in action, one can tell that Sandra Bullock did her homework for this role. Her performance in this film was spot on and her chemistry with Quinton Aaron.
Quenton Aaron’s performance as Michael Touhy endeared the character to our hearts and made him someone we could believe in, rooting for his success in every venture. Tim McGraw was completely unrecognizable as sports commentator and restaurateur Sean Touhy. I had seen his name in the credits, but never realized that he was the father in the Touhy household. Surprisingly, the country western singer is quite a believable actor.
The message that this movie sends is incredibly inspiring. To watch the true story of a young man whose every day is a constant struggle suddenly find a family who believes in him and gives him every opportunity to succeed is truly motivating. Not only does it make you want to lend a helping hand to others in need, but it offers hope to those who have very little that, with a little determination and support, they can achieve great things.
The Blind Side is a feel good movie that the whole family will love. It makes a perfect addition to the inspirational true football stories like Rudy, Remember the Titans, We Are Marshall and Brian’s Song. The Blind Side is worth all of the accolades and is truly one of those must see films that you will be recommending to all of your friends.