Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Film Review: The Blind Side

Director: John Lee Hancock

Based on the book by Michael Lewis (who also wrote Moneyball) called The Blind Side: The Evolution of a Game which discussed the rise in importance of the Left Tackle (known as the blind side because it's the one place the Quarterback can't see) position in American Football and the story of Michael Oher. The film was hugely popular on release with Sandra Bullock in particular being singled out for praise and awards including a Best Actress award at the Oscars. It was released in 2009.

Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) been told how to block by Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock)
For most of his life, Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) had spent his time in foster care and constantly kept running away from where he was supposed to be living. After he becomes friends Sean Tuohy Jr (Jae Head), Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock in domineering fashion) sees him walking out in the rain at night and offers him a place to stay. Slowly he begins to trust the family and ends up living with them full-time so he can go to school to improve his grades and then be allowed to play Football. The problems come when Michael is scouted to play Football in college due to his poor grades and the links the Tuohy family have to Ole Miss University which the NCAA are interested in.

The film very much focuses on Leigh Anne Tuohy who took Michael Oher into her home compared to the book that is more about Michael himself. There are quite a few key differences between what actually happened and the movie which as a big fan of American Football I wasn't so pleased with. The on-going investigation into whether the Tuohy family took Michael in so he could play Football for Ole Miss, their alma-mater and team they are boosters for, was very much underplayed and was very different in real life which is a shame as it was one of the first times that Michael really opened up as a person.

Sean Tuohy Junior (Jae Head) with Big Mike
You cannot doubt the feel good factor of the movie and Sandra Bullock plays her role very well, but slightly over the top in some parts. There is a difference between a strong woman/mother figure and someone who just tries to tell everyone what to do by yelling at them. The relationship between Sean Tuohy Jr and Michael is great to watch as the friendship feels very real; much of the film does well to capture Michael's failure to understand what all the fuss is about with him and just wanting to play Football at college. The growth of his confidence and development into an adult is the true joy of this movie.

3/4 great feel-good film but too many differences from the real events for an NFL fan like myself.

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