out of Five
Running time: 128
Watchable if occasionally patronising drama with an Oscar-winning performance from Sandra Bullock, though you do wonder if the story might have been better served with a documentary.
What's it all about?
Directed by John Lee Hancock, The Blind Side is based on a true story and stars an Oscar-winning Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy, a rich Memphis housewife whose husband Sean (Tim McGraw) is a fast food magnate and whose two kids – young SJ (Jae Head) and teenage Collins (Lily Collins) – go to a posh private school. When Leigh Anne sees black teenager Mike (Quinton Aaron) walking home from school in the rain, she takes him into her home and discovers that he's both a classmate of Collins and essentially homeless.
Eventually, Mike becomes part of the Tuohy family and Leigh Anne encourages him to use his size to his advantage on the American football field. However, when Mike earns a football-dependent scholarship to the same school that both Leigh Anne and Sean attended, questions are raised regarding her impartiality.
It's easy to see why Bullock won the Oscar for this role; she delivers an engaging, no-nonsense performance that perfectly conveys Leigh Anne's powerful personality – there's a lot of warmth to her character but you definitely get the sense that this is a woman who's used to getting what she wants. Aaron is equally good as the quiet young man who gradually comes out of his shell and there's strong support from McGraw and an amusing turn from Kathy Bates as the tutor hired to help Mike improve his grades.
There are several good scenes, even if you can spot the Oscar / trailer clips a mile away, such as when one of Leigh Anne's stuck-up friends remarks “You're changing that boy's life” and she replies, “Nope. He's changing mine.”
The Blind Side plays a little bit like a mainstream Hollywood version of Precious, since both films are essentially about the nurturing and rehabilitation of abused, oversized black teenagers; as such, the story occasionally feels a little patronising, until you remember that it really happened. That said, the real life photos at the end do make you wonder if this remarkable true story wouldn't have been better served by a documentary.
Hollywoodisation issues aside, The Blind Side is an enjoyable, emotionally engaging drama that's worth seeing for Bullock's Oscar-winning performance.
The Blind Side (12A)