Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Blind Side

Written & Directed by: John Lee Hancock

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw

Rating: 7/10

The words “Hell must have frozen over” have never been uttered as often as it has this awards season. Miss Congeniality won a Best Actress Oscar. We all scoffed and giggled and worried that something terribly wrong had happened in the world. However, her winning of a Razzie Award the night before the Oscars gave the universe some much-needed balance again. All is right with the elements. So the big question is, was the award deserved? Well, personally, I’d still have given it to Helen Mirren but personal taste aside, I’m happy enough to concede that Miss Armed & Fabulous was justly rewarded.

The Blind Side is a very good film. Perhaps not the most profound piece of cinema but it is a fascinating true story, well-told. It tells the story of Michael Oher, a homeless black teenager who is so gigantic that a football coach from a posh school is falling all over himself to get him in. When he gets there, needless to say he has trouble fitting in. However, he soon falls in with privileged family, the Tuohy’s who take him into their home and slowly build up a relationship with him. Bullock’s portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy is the single most important part of the film and happily it worked well, textured and always interesting. This is not a complicated woman. She is a strong-willed, kind woman who has everything she could ever want but has an appreciation for how lucky she is.

The Blind Side has some sickeningly cheesy moments and it is not always elegant in its storytelling. This is just the film it appears to be from the trailer. It is overwhelmingly cheerful and optimistic which can be annoying at times, even to those of us who don’t consider themselves entirely cynical. However, as it progresses, it becomes clear that there is slightly more going on than rich white people saving poor black kids. The final act of the film calls into question the morality behind such an endeavour. Is there such thing as a truly selfless act? Perhaps we are not even aware why we do things and maybe there are somewhat shadier motives behind them.

This questioning of the film’s heroes immediately allows the audience to feel better about the characters, who are rather clichéd “good Christian southern Republicans”. The writer doesn’t allow the characters to remain atop their pedestal for too long. He allows them room to doubt themselves.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable and entertaining film and it is an inspiring true story that I found myself liking far more than I had predicted. And yes, it’s better than All About Steve.

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