Trying not to gush when writing about a film that made an impact on you personally is tricky and most of all it can make it easy for people to forsake what you have to say about it so while I personally love all the films in this new series of posts, I will try to keep it somewhat professional and tell you why I think they work.
The Blind Side (2009)
Written and Directed by John Lee Hancock
Following the real life story of NFL star Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) and his rise to fame from the rough side of Memphis thanks to the kindness of christian family and their strong willed matriarch Leigh Anne Touhy (Sandra Bullock).
While biopics throw details and subtext at you thick and fast, most of it feeling too forced or pretentious, The Blind Side slowly peels away at Michael, who everyone playfully refers to as Big Mike, through the supporting characters with Aaron adding subtle details through facial expressions and mannerisms befitting Big Mike’s introverted character, a child in an oversized body, one made for American Football but has forced him through a childhood where he has been either feared or ridiculed.
Michael’s integration into the Touhy family is handled care and while moving it also proves to be believable as the expected tensions of a black boy moving into an entirely white houshold arise and perish thanks to Leigh Anne’s acerbic wit and charm, a great fit for Bullock who adds humour and detail to a script light on exposition, one intent on developing its characters through motion, actions and the things left unspoken.
Hancock, working from Michael Lewis’ book about Oher fills the film with true facts about the real Oher while making them work within the context of the film world he has developed. The filming isn’t particularly outstanding but this simple story isn’t looking for the Breaking Bad touch, just a crop of actors willing to bring this impressive tale to life, a story about perseverance more than anything as Big Mike takes his licks without raising a finger until things finally come his way.
Bullock and Aaron make a perfect pairing, a mixture of hopeless optimism and fiery maternal instinct as the two grow a tangible and thought provoking bond, a visual unexpected within modern society but wholeheartedly welcome despite the inherent racism shown throughout both the film and life. Tim McGraw fits right in thanks to his southern drawl and easy going persona as Sean Touhy, Leigh Anne’s ever understanding husband, a man forced to accept the many desires of the assertive woman he married.
Ultimately a dramedy, The Blind Side is a tribute to a man achieving more than his means, surprising critics and haters and proving his worth to thousands more. In fact the whole tale gets more impressive when you read up on Oher’s NFL stats, including the fact he helped the Baltimore Ravens win the 2013 Super Bowl only 4 years after getting drafted. He’s an impressive athlete and The Blind Side faithfully depicts his story, something that can’t be said about some movies, like this years interesting but unreliable jOBS. The bottom line is faithful conversion sometimes works wonders thanks to the simple premise of a great person with an interesting story.