Contrary to what many critics are saying, Sandra Bullock does not give the performance of her lifetime in the heartstring puller of a movie The Blind Side. She carries herself just fine as a dramatic leading lady, but aside from perfecting her Southern accent, her role doesn’t exactly break her out of her comfort zone and push her to new levels.
It is a pleasant surprise to see her doing something other than a romantic comedy, though.
In the The Blind Side, she is Leigh Anne Tuohy, the spunky wife of Sean (Tim McGraw), a very wealthy owner of more fast food joints than should be allowed. She has her perfect children, daughter Collins (Lily Collins) and son SJ (Jae Head). She has her perfect world that allows her to sit in fancy restaurants with her hoity-toity friends talking about nothing.
Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) is a big cuddly black kid from the wrong side of the tracks of Memphis Tennessee. His dad is dead and his crack addict mom has abandoned him. To say his future is bleak is an understatement. But his luck changes when Leigh Ann sets her doting eyes on him. For the first time he has a roof over his head, food to eat, clean clothes, a bed and a reason to see past a life of peddling smack on the corner. All very uplifting, indeed, but there are shortcomings.
First, it is never made quite clear what the motivations of Leigh Ann are. Guilt for being so rich and Michael being so poor? Guilt for being white and his being black? Does she see financial gain in bringing him into the household (he does after all become a player in the NFL)? Was her youth as messed up as his and she wants to kill those demons? Does the Almighty compel her to help him? The film is as much about her as it is about Michael — Leigh Ann’s skeletons needed to be realized for her and Michael’s relationship (which is at the heart of the movie) to make sense.
I’m also not entirely convinced Quinton Aaron was the best choice for the role of “Big Mike”. He just kinda stands there with a dopey smile on his face for most of the movie, reminding me of a simplified version of Lennie from Of Mice and Men — only without the character complexities or the neck breaking (of course).
Why Kathy Bates even has a role in this film is a bit of a head scratcher too.
Those minor grievances aside, The Blind Side has got some good going for it too, other than goodwill to the underprivileged can result in a [substitute a major sports league here] contract theme. It’s cute — specifically, when watching Michael trying to figure out how to play football. Same can be said with Michael’s sticking out like a sore thumb in the Tuohy’s Christmas pictures.
There isn’t anything Oscar worthy about the film, but it is good to know there are some good people in the world willing to help those less fortunate . . . even if we don’t necessarily know what their motivation is.