Rated PG-13 for one scene involving brief violence, drug and sexual references.
The Blind Side was a straight-forward, feel-good story that did everything well but wasn't breaking any new ground.
Michael Oher comes from a broken family and is left sleeping on friend's couches, when they accept him. One day while walking to the school gym so he can spend the night, Leigh Anne Tuohy and her family come across Michael and invite him to their home. From there Leigh Anne makes it her mission to make sure Michael gets the best education possible. And with his enormous size and athletic skill, Michael gets on the football team. The lessons he learns about family translates onto the football field, eventually leading to his being a first round NFL draft pick.
The Blind Side was made primarily to tug at the heart strings. But it's not as if the story hasn't been done a thousand times before. This time at least, it's based on a true story so while some of what happened was certainly fictionalized for the movie, you know there is a real-life happy ending at the end of it. Newcomer Quinton Aaron, who plays Michael Oher, is a likeable enough person. He's rather sad throughout most of the movie, but as the story goes on and he learns what it's like to be part of a real family, his personality becomes stronger. I wish he had shown some more emotion throughout the film, rather than saving it all for the end, but while the movie revolves around his story, the real focus of the film is Leigh Anne, played by Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock.
I wonder if that was the plan from the start - to center the movie more around the mom than Michael. Or was it one of those things where once they started editing, they felt that the stronger emotion was in Leigh Anne's story. Because it wasn't as if she really changed all that much during the movie. She wasn't a racist who came around at the end. She wasn't a meek person who became stronger by the end. She was a headstrong, beautiful woman who did whatever she thought was right, no matter what anyone else thought. The performance was unlike most other Sandra Bullock films, that's for sure, but the character arc just wasn't there. In fact, most of the characters didn't have much transformation from beginning to end. I think that was the real down side of the movie - besides cheering for Michael to succeed, no one else did much of anything.
A rich white family taking in a poor black child and helping him reach his potential by giving him everything he didn't have before. A variation of that plot has been done a million times. At least in the case of The Blind Side, it was done well. The movie never got overly preachy or sentimental. There were small moments that were used to hit those emotional high points, especially the scene where Michael says he's never had a bed before. Bullock's response was small, but effective. And the director did a good job of keeping the scene in the context of the movie. The music didn't start to swell. The tears didn't immediately start rolling. Instead it felt genuine. While at first I didn't believe that Leigh Anne really had a soft side, you could see a true love for Michael start to build.
I think the writer/director knew that the movie was becoming a little too schmaltzy so there was a scene towards the end where Michael questioned Leigh Anne's true reason for bringing him in. It was the only real conflict in the movie, but it was dispatched of fairly quickly so we could get back to the main story of watching Michael succeed on the football field. Speaking of, the football scenes were pretty good. There wasn't enough for my liking, but I suppose that wasn't the real reason for the movie.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I liked The Blind Side, but I didn't think it was one of the best films of the year. There was nothing particularly special about it, but what it did, it did well.