The Blind Side

Richard Bodsworth 22 March, 2010 0

When it comes to American football movies we don’t tend to take much interest this side of the Atlantic.

It may have something to do with many not understanding the stop-start rules, others think the players are not ˜man’ enough since they wear pads, but it’s probably down to the fact that bar the odd exception, Friday Night Lights for example, they are usually not very good.

The main attraction here will no doubt be Sandra Bullock in her Oscar winning performance, but does that make The Blind Side a great, or even good film?

Based on a true story, Bullock plays hard-ass family ˜mom’ Leigh Anne Tuohy. The lives of Leigh Anne and her family take a drastic change when they take homeless black teen Michael Oher into their home, much to the shock of the tight knit white community in which they reside.

As Leigh Anne works to help Michael overcome his academic and social disabilities, she discovers the terrible secrets of his childhood before his potential as an American football player is realised.

Heavily playing up its based on a true story tag, there is a remarkable tale in here but sadly some heavy handed direction allows it to fall into ridiculous, melodramatic territory.

With its extensive running time the film obviously had its mind set on awards season, and done correctly may have stood a chance, but the heartstrings are tugged as violently as a blind side hit, something that may appeal to a certain demographic (bored, middle aged housewives?) but this sickly sweet nonsense will not wash with most.

As the story delves into Michaels past and we visit the ghetto he grew up in, the result is entirely unbelievable. Where as Precious was in your face and gritty, the scenes of urban poverty on show here appear to be filmed by someone who obviously has never stepped out of the suburbs.

Quinton Aaron manages to show a brief glimpse into the soul of Michael Oher, but even though his story is the basis for the film, he is forced to take a backseat as this is simply not his show. The Tuohy family are likeable characters and although well performed, (Country singer Tim McGraw makes a good bitch to his wife) the hype surrounding Bullock is slightly unwarranted.

Sure she provides some entertainment as a bossy little Texan, but you get the feeling any ˜soccer mom’ could have played the role. It’s a well known fact that portrayals of real life people are lapped up by the Academy but you can only assume that a weak shortlist allowed Bullock to take the prize.

One man who may take heart from this is Danny Dyer. If Bullock can actually WIN for such a poor role, Dyer may think he has a chance of a nomination at the very least.

*****