- LATIN AMERICA
- MIDDLE EAST
- United Kingdom
- United States
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- Movie Reviews
The Blind Side (2 Stars)
Movie review by Michael Phillips
Sandra Bullock & Tim McGraw
"The Blind Side" fumbles a remarkable true story of an African-American product of the West Memphis projects who ended up at a Christian school and in the care of a wealthy white family, and then went on to professional football glory.
The kid is Michael Oher, who now plays offensive tackle for the
Oher, portrayed as a near-mute saint by Quinton Aaron, has been sidelined in his own story. Writer-director John Lee Hancock's adaptation of the Michael Lewis book (excerpted in The
Now, how could this have been avoided? Certainly the actors are capable and the emotional rooting interests are there. Oher's shattered home life ("his mom's on that crack pipe," we're told in shorthand early on) has left him fending for himself, sleeping where he can. One night, the Tuohy family (country star Tim McGraw plays blandly supportive husband Sean) spots "Big Mike" in the rain. Leigh Anne decides to give him a ride, then give him a place to stay for the night. And then he becomes part of the family.
The movie has a lot of ground to cover, dealing with young Oher's academic challenges (Kathy Bates portrays his tutor, Miss Sue), the college football recruitment blitz and attendant controversy, the life Oher left behind when he became part of the Tuohys, and vice versa. But Hancock's storytelling and directorial technique are strictly routine.
"You are changing that boy's life," says one of Leigh Anne's snippy lunch friends.
"No," comes the reply, followed by a measured three-second pause. "He's changing mine."
But how? Leigh Anne, the gun-toting Republican Christian whirlwind of philanthropic good around which everything spins, seems very much the same woman from start to finish. (Leigh Anne's more interesting wrinkles have been sanded smooth for the movie; according to author Lewis, she was raised in a profoundly racist environment, and as a kid her father pulled her out of the Memphis public school system when court-ordered integration began in 1973.)
Many will respond to Oher's story, even in this tepid version. But right off, there's a blurring of intentions: In a prologue Bullock voice-overs a quick history of the left tackle's importance to the game. This is followed by a scene of Oher sweating under interrogation by the
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for one scene involving brief violence, drug and sexual references).
Running time: 2:06.
Cast: Sandra Bullock (Leigh Anne Tuohy); Tim McGraw (Sean Tuohy); Quentin Aaron (Michael Oher); Kathy Bates (Miss Sue); Lily Collins (Collins Tuohy); Jae Head (S.J. Tuohy).
Credits: Written and directed by John Lee Hancock, based on the book by "The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game" by Michael Lewis; produced by Gil Netter, Andrew A. Kosove and Broderick Johnson. A
© Tribune Media Services