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Archive for April 7th, 2010

The Blind Side

Based on the 2006 book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis that in turn was based on the true story of Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher. Big Mike (Quinton Aaron) moves to an upmarket Christian school with the help of a friend whose sofa he has been sleeping on. When his sleeping arrangements become a problem Big Mike finds himself on the street until he is taken in by wealthy interior designer Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) and her family. It is clear that Big Mike has an aptitude for sport, something the school’s American football coach wants to exploit but can’t due to Mike’s lack of academic achievements. He is helped to improve his grades by Leigh Anne and a couple of his teachers most notably Mrs. Boswell (Kim Dickens) whose character disappears once she has done her job.

The marketing of the movie all surrounded Sandra Bullock who had already won her best actress Oscar by the time the movie was released in the UK, however this really is Michaels story. Unfortunately (at least how he is portrayed in the movie) he isn’t a particularly interesting character. He seems to shut out rather than overcome adversity and it is never really clear how grateful he was for the help he was given. It also isn’t really made clear what Leigh Anne Tuohy’s motivation for helping him was, did she help him purely out of charity or was it for the recognition of her actions and Michael’s achievements. The film never really explores this it just hints at it.

The biggest problem with The Blind Side is its lack of characterisation. Characters appear and quickly disappear without ever being explored of developed. The one character that does get a reasonable amount of screen time is S.J. Tuohy ( Jae Head), this is a shame as he is truly annoying. I’m not sure if it is a bad performance of poor direction. The movie also lacks focus, is it Big Mike’s story or Leigh Ann’s? trying to be a bit of both the movie losses its way. Had the director stuck with one character and explored their hopes, fears and most importantly motivation it would have been all the better for it, it would also have given the opportunity for the rest of the families characters to be better utilised.

Whilst I find it hard to begrudge Bullock her Oscar for what is a towering performance that she takes on with relish but I can’t help thinking it wasn’t the best performance of last year mealy the most Oscar friendly. The film itself is actually quite enjoyable and surprisingly not as sentimental as you would expect, the subject matter does however feel like it belongs in a TV movie on a low rent cable channel. Far from a great movie but certainly not a bad one.

Three Stars out of Five

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