PG-13 for one scene involving brief violence, drug and sexual references.
March 23, 2010
Comedy, Drama, Adaptation, Biopic and Sports
Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron, Kathy Bates, Lily Collins, Ray McKinnon
John Lee Hancock
Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution
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The Blind Side
By Chris Carpenter
CBN.com Program Director
Releasing today on DVD, The Blind Side, featuring Sandra Bullock’s Oscar winning performance for best actress, is a prime example that movies with good morals can thrive in Hollywood. With a production budget of a mere $29 million, this story of a family taking a chance on someone less fortunate, has grossed more than $250 million domestically.
Faith and values were on full display, none more evident than a sign hanging above the entrance to a school in the movie. It reads, “With men this is possible. With God all things are possible.”
Those two sentences speak volumes when discussing the life of Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher. A once homeless teenager, the current NFL rookie has overcome great obstacles in his life thanks in large part to the love and support of a well to do Memphis family.
Based on the book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, by Michael Lewis, the movie of the same name is an uplifting sports drama featuring Michael’s real life story of rags to riches.
When viewers are first introduced to Michael (Quinton Aaron), he is a massive, uneducated man child, sleeping on the couch of a friend. His grade point average is below 1.0, he owns only the clothes on his back, and there are many sordid, forgettable memories in his past that haunt him regularly. He is about as far from football stardom as is humanly possible.
But on a fateful, rainy night, the Tuohy family passes Michael on the side of the road. He is walking to parts unknown in the dead of winter wearing only a t-shirt and a pair of shorts. The affluent family takes in the highly introverted teen for the night, not realizing that they would eventually adopt the gentle giant, much to the chagrin of the Tuohy’s well-heeled cadre of friends.
Sometimes it seems that MIchael Oher ’s story is too good to be true. Some will question whether this is a racist film due to a rich, well to do white family taking in an underprivileged, homeless, African-American young man. But the facts are the facts. If anything, the movie provides a balanced view of the racial realities of the Deep South.
In perhaps the best performance of her career, Sandra Bullock is getting some well deserved Oscar buzz for her portrayal of Leigh Ann Tuohy, the brassy spitfire southern belle who convinces her husband (Tim McGraw) to take in Michael. Bullock’s performance is sassy, bold, and determined, right down to the blond roots of her naturally brunette hair. Her accent is credible, her will is determined, and she lights up the screen every time she appears.
As her onscreen counterpart, Aaron does a credible job of underplaying his role of the bashful but very vulnerable Michael. What he lacks in acting through the spoken word, he more than makes up for with his quiet resilience. This is quite evident as he could have very easily been swallowed up in many scenes by Bullock’s irrepressible Leigh Ann. But he isn’t. In fact, Aaron's portrayal of Michael’s quiet nature actually adds to the emotional complexity of the role.
Country music star McGraw plays the role of Leigh Ann’s husband, Sean Tuohy, a Memphis-based fast food franchise mogul. While naturally funny in several scenes as Leigh Ann's marital foil, McGraw's role is strangely similar to the warm, lighthearted father he played in Flicka.
Other notable performances include Jae Head, who plays the wise-cracking, industrious, youngest child of the Tuohys. Head, whose S.J. is a natural sidekick for Michael, lights up the screen every time he appears. Also, Oscar winner Kathy Bates plays the left-leaning tutor the very Republican Tuohy’s hire to help Michael get his grades up. She tackles the part with zeal.
In one highly compelling scene that is sure to resonate with people of faith, Leigh Ann (Bullock) commands the entire family to leave their Thanksgiving dinner perch in front of the television and join her and Michael at the dining room table. There, they offer up a prayer of thanks for their many blessings, chief among them the addition of Michael to their family.
Limited in its special features, the DVD offers four deleted scenes that did not make the movie's final cut. One of special significance is a sobering conversation between Michael and Sean Tuohy in the school cafeteria. It is determined that Michael has little if anything to eat on daily basis. Sean immediately arranges for Michael to receive a complete meal plan.
The Blind Side is rated PG-13, mainly for several instances of bad language. While the words of choice are certainly within context of the film, they sadly detract from an otherwise inspiring family drama.
While Michael Oher’s story could have easily ended in tragedy it transcends instead. Why? Because with men some things are possible. But with God all things are possible.
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More articles by Chris Carpenter on CBN.com
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