In 2006 Michael Lewis released a book entitled, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game that told the tough story of professional football player Michael Oher and his journey to the NFL. The book was adapted into a feature, and centers on a young and homeless Oher (Quinton Aaron) who is taken in by the affluent Tuohy family in Memphis, Tennessee. He isn’t so much a delinquent as he is misguided, and the film highlights how they gave him the direction to reach his full potential in sports and in life.
Check out our review of The Blind Side…
- Director: John Lee Hancock
- Writers: John Lee Hancock, Michael Lewis (book)
- Starring: Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron, Lily Collins, Jae Head, Ray McKinnon, Kathy Bates
The Blind Side is based on the humble beginnings of Michael Oher, an abandoned inner city kid who’s mother is a drug addict and father is no where to be found. A family friend finds a way to enter him into an upscale private school due to his size and athletic ability. While there he struggles with his grades, sleeps in the gym, and wears the same outfit on a daily basis. During a rainy walk from school, he’s discovered by the Tuohy family and slowly becomes a permanent staple in their lives. Throughout his stay, he’s given a tutor to help with his studies, a shot a college education, and a chance to play professional football in the NFL.
- Ray McKinnon: This Oscar winner (Best Short Film, The Accountant) stars as Coach Cotton, one of the driving forces behind Michael’s football success. McKinnon pulls off the right balance of sincerity and selfishness in his role. Initially, Cotton sees Oher as an amazing career opportunity, but he eventually sheds that desire to put the player’s future in front of his own.
- Humor: This movie is a lot more lighthearted than one would expect. Going off the trailer, you get the impression that this will be a tear jerker along the lines of Rudy or even Friday Night Lights, but it’s not. There are a lot of comedic moments especially between the family that make this film refreshing but not depressing.
- Closing Credit Sequence: This may seem like an odd thing to point out, but after the film comes to an end, the closing credit sequence is the cherry on top. It features photos of the real life Tuohy clan, along with Michael throughout the years. There’s even footage from Oher’s drafting ceremony into the NFL, which is beyond priceless.
- The Screenplay: There’s nothing about this story that makes it stand out amongst other films that have similar premises. It follows a formula that we’ve seen time and time again in not only the sports genre, but drama, comedy and everywhere in between.
- The Supporting Actors: For the most part, the main cast did decent work, but everyone around them appeared to be phoning in their performances. In particular, the group of “street thugs” from Oher’s old neighborhood were cast very badly. You could tell that these were professionally trained actors trying to do their best thug impressions. Their dialogue was stereotypical, and you could actually see the disbelief on their faces as they delivered each line.
The Blind Side is not your typical, sappy drama. It has plenty of lighthearted moments to keep you on the up and up, in an otherwise generic sports tale. The story isn’t terrible, but leaves much room for improvement. Don’t go into this movie thinking that you’ll see a lot of football action, because you won’t. This film concentrates more on Oher’s family and school life than the actual sport. This may be something that appeals to those who aren’t fans of the game, but may turn off those who are.
The Blind Side hits theaters nationwide on November 20, 2009