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Director: John Lee Hancock
Sandra Bullock, Quinton Aaron, Kathy Bates, Tim McGraw, Jae Head, Lily Collins, Ray McKinnon, Ashley LeConte Campbell
RunTime: 2 hrs 8 mins
Released By: Warner Bros
Rating: PG (Some Drug and Sexual References)
Official Website: http://www.theblindsidemovie.com/

Opening Day: 14 January 2010


Sandra Bullock ("The Proposal"), Tim McGraw ("Friday Night Lights") and Oscar-winner Kathy Bates ("Misery," "Revolutionary Road") star in Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros. Pictures' "The Blind Side," which depicts the remarkable true story of All-American football star Michael Oher.

A homeless African-American youngster from a broken home, Oher (Quinton Aaron) is taken in by the Touhys, a well-to-do white family who help him fulfill his potential on and off the football field. At the same time, Oher's presence in the Touhys' lives leads them to some insightful self-discoveries of their own.

Living in his new environment, the teen faces a completely different set of challenges to overcome. As a football player and student, Oher works hard and, with the help of his coaches and adopted family, becomes an All-American offensive left tackle.

Movie Review:

John Lee Hancock's screenplay and direction of the true story narrated in Michael Lewis's book of the same name about American football star Michael Oher (Quinton Aron) is a curious beast. It is at its worst one of the more patronisingly ignorant films considering racial and class distinctions in recent times, and at its best, a well-meaning and truly skillful construction of an underdog story that's strangely fulfilling if one is to withhold any cynicism or skepticism.

The immense success of Hancock's film is a stark reminder of two things: firstly, that the power of an underdog story in drawing audiences in and leaving them uplifted and fulfilled is nothing to be ignored and secondly, Sandra Bullock is still America's sweetheart, especially after a bumper year of screen appearances. Bullock's Golden Globe nominated (and probably Oscar as well) performance is the best in her oeuvre. It builds on a terrific job in "Crash" that by all regards was masked by a histrionic story and a thoroughly decent ensemble. She plays Leigh Anne Tuohy, who together with her wealthy husband Sean (Tim McGraw) and two kids (a blandly forgettable Lily Collins and a hammy Jae Head) adopt a poor Michael into their mansion after seeing him walking home in the rain with nothing but the clothes on his back. Make no mistake, this is a film about a canonised Leigh Anne, and to an extent her family's noteworthy generosity in a state with an inexorably revolting history of racial violence. It is not a film about Michael Oher or 'Big Mike' as he's known by those who never see the need to look beyond the width of his shoulders. In fact, Quinton Aron acts with his eyes for the bulk of the film, having almost nothing to say in the film until its final scenes.

"The Blind Side" is so transparently manipulative in its connotations of what makes a person charitable (Southern hospitality on top of a big heap of good Christian beliefs, naturally) but just so stunningly blind to its own well intentioned prejudices when it represents only its white characters of having anything resembling merit or ambition. They are either rote descriptions of gang members or tired representations of ineffectually desperate druggie parents. It gives and takes so easily, with a gimmicky and schematic flow that panders to our most contrived racial anxieties and base notions of class discriminations.

There's a sense that "The Blind Side" trades in the best of what audiences wants in the world – the idea that there is intrinsic worth in everybody. It's a noble intention thats invalidated by an execution with the depth of a bumper sticker without the required brevity. But you just never feel that the film was being honest about the most important parts of its story when its most important character is kept on the sidelines.

Movie Rating:

(Condescending to its proposed ideals for the most part, brought together by a solid and inviting performance by Sandra Bullock)

Review by Justin Deimen


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