With far less potential than Precious, superior production values and the willingness to tell the story in a straightforward way prove to be the right formula.
Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) is a big guy from a bad part of town. With natural athletic ability and a protective instinct, the coach of a private high school (Ray McKinnon) is convinced “Big Mike” can make something of himself in sports, but he’ll also have to make the grades. With few supporters and few options other than living on the street between classes, the privileged wife (Sandra Bullock) of a local businessman offers Mike the support and encouragement he needs… if he’s willing to accept it.
You hear about this kind of thing every day, poor kids from broken homes passed through the system and graduated barely able to read or write. But when someone grows up to play for a professional sports team, that’s newsworthy enough to make a movie about. However it happens, it’s never a bad thing to see good people able to make a difference in a child’s life by actually doing something about it, right up to and including whatever it takes. It also doesn’t hurt when the person taking that interest is Sandra Bullock, either.
One of the best things about The Blind Side is also one that detracts from it. While Mike is (and should be) the focus of the film, Sandra Bullock’s portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy steals every scene she ‘s in and is almost a distraction (watch the football team’s reaction as Bullock both approaches and leaves the field: “milf.”) To her credit, the real life Leigh Anne is reportedly a force of nature herself who everyone involved says Bullock nails down perfectly. Ultimately, it is the relationship between these two characters that carries the film, even if it winds up being dominated by Bullock.
Although the story is similar in theme to the movie Precious, The Blind Side seems to focus more on the positive while Precious seemed to focus more on the negative. Both views are relevant, but the positive elements are peppered with messages about things happy families take for granted, what could be instead of dwelling on what was. It also hints at the way some people think about charity, that the act “counts” even if there’s no actual emotional attachment. You’ll discover quickly that there’s nothing that Leigh Anne does that isn’t emotionally attached, especially when she slips off to have a good cry… just don’t ask her why, lest you incur her wrath.
(a three and a half skull recommendation out of four)