Review of The Blindside written and directed by John Lee Hancock
This is one of the better sports films I've seen in a while. The last football related film I saw was Invinciblewith Mark Wahlberg. That story was also based on a true story, but the true story aspect was lame. The main character's main claim to fame was that he played a couple of games on special teams. The climax of the film was when the main character scores a touchdown on a fumble recovery after a kickoff. The filmmakers glossed over the fact that the resulting touchdown was nullified because he had stepped out of bounds.
This film has the same underlying theme of all sports films where an underdog overcomes obstacles to achieve success. The difference here is that the main character, Michael Oher, not only rises above poverty to become an NFL football player, but that he's currently starting and playing for the Baltimore Ravens.
The film is based on the best selling book The Blind Sideby Michael Lewis. Besides being a compelling story, this film shows what can happen when someone is given opportunity. In this case, the opportunity comes from an unlikely source, an attractive white woman and her close-knit family. Sandra Bullock's portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy is every bit as good as Julia Roberts's performance in Erin Brockovich. The supporting characters do a fine job. I give a lot of credit to Tim McGraw for playing a role that is so far removed from his music career and past film roles that he is unrecognizable as the person we've seen in the past. Quinton Aaron, who portrays Michael Oher, is not asked to do much beyond play the role of gentle giant. But he does it well.
The film earns credence by not shying away from a controversy that I'm sure was covered in the book. The controversy concerns the possibility that the family's altruism had more to do with their efforts to have Michael Oher play for their Alma mater Old Miss. I won't give away how this was worked out in the film, but it was handled with honesty and sincerity.
There is plenty of humor. I especially liked the trash talking player who opposed Michael Oher in one of his early football games.
My only fault with the film, and it's minor, is that they made Michael Oher out to be a saint. I'm sure he's a great person, but we all have our flaws. I would also have liked to have learned more about what has happened with Michael's brother and mother since his success.
Lastly, the filmmakers closed the film with images of the real Michael Oher and the family that helped him. Look for more from this film come awards time.