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The Blind Side
Genre Sport
Year: 2009

Some Hollywood stories are too good to be true and some are too true to be good. This is why The Blind Side succeeds. It's a true story, which mimics Hollywood's underdog story convention, while portraying a convincing, believable and much publicized rise to fame. Sandra Bullock's Oscar-winning performance may overshadow the film, but it all started with the amazing true story of Michael Oher.

Oher, conveniently referred to as "Big Mike", was a giant of a kid. His appearance and presence was both a nuisance and a blessing... getting him noticed by Wingate Christian School and predetermining his peer's opinions on the large black man. When Leigh Anne Tuohy decided to give the abandoned teenager a place on the couch and a warm meal, she probably never anticipated that Oher would become part of the family. Described at one point as "a fly in milk", Oher's story is about fitting in without falling out as he comes up against prejudice, educational and physical adversities.

The Blind Side starts as a drama, as Oher finds his feet and embraces his adopted family. He's a gentle giant and it's only when his physical ability is fully realised that The Blind Side develops into a sports drama. Sandra Bullock has a firm grip on the Southern accent and really grows into her character. Tuohy is something of a control freak trophy wife at first, who eventually finds that "letting go" becomes all the more possible around Michael.

Solid all-round performances led from the front by Quinton Aaron, Sandra Bullock deliver the necessary conviction needed to carry this true story through. The script harnesses possible turning points in the story and echoes Michael's central strength of being a protector. There's even a fair dose of comedy thrown around between characters, which help lighten the mood and keep the narrative buoyant. The Blind Side is one of those heartwarming dramas that avoids melodrama, yet manages to attach sweet, sad and beautiful moments of humanity without manipulating the audience.

The Blind Side is like almost every football movie and you can see parallels with Rudy, The Waterboy, The Express and even The Longshots as the film focuses on Oher and the start of his football career. It's something of an underdog zero-to-hero story, which also makes it inspiring. In the same breath, it's also unlike every football movie as it takes a The Pursuit of Happyness angle, based on a true story. Hollywood's deep South stereotypes do emerge at times, but The Blind Side is about people who are able to nurture love instead of excuses.

Overall, The Blind Side features a strong array of performances headlined by Sandra Bullock, solid direction from John Lee Hancock, the inspiring true story of Michael Oher and a well-balanced narrative - making it a commercial all-rounder with a lot of heart! 

The bottom line: Heartwarming.


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