This is actually not an easy film to review, and I don’t want to go off on a rant about it. So I am going to make this as straight forward as possible. The Blind Side is about a poor man called Michael, his mother is a drug addict, never knew his father, and he goes from place to place. That is until a man he has been staying with gets him enrolled in a Christian school along with his son. Michael has no idea what to do in class, and suddenly he has no where to stay so he sleeps in the gym.
He gets the attention of the Tuohy family who take him in for the night, but soon enough Michael starts to live with them. With their help and the help of a teacher at school Michael comes out of his shell, he starts to learn and finds himself belonging. Once that happens, Michael gets put on the football team, with his size it seems he would make a great player, of course this comes with its ups and downs.
The Blind Side sets out to be a feel good film, a boy coming out of nothing to be something. It wants to be an inspiration, and it wants you to feel. But it really did not work for me at all like that. These types of films have been done many times over and they have been done a lot better too. This film starts off with Michael living with this man and his son, and then suddenly you don’t see them again after he’s enrolled in school. That made no sense, and then he quickly gets taken in by the family, there was no questions really asked. It all just seemed to be too sweet and I could not actually buy it at all.
This is based on a true story and you are supposed to believe this really happened but I did not buy it. There are scenes where Leigh Anne (Sandra Bullock) goes into the poor neighbour that Michael is from, to look for him. Now she is this rich looking woman, in a neighbourhood where she does not belong, and she walks out without a scratch and mouthing off to these tough guys. I have no idea if that actually happened but I did not buy it, and that really hurts the film.
The dialogue in this film was cringe worthy at times, awfully cheesy and there were parts where I could see even Sandra was not convinced by it. The real story here is a good one though, I recently watched a special on the real people on 20/20 and the real story was more compelling, inspiring and there was such a struggle there that was moving. The film had none of that, with this story I wanted to see the struggle they went through but it had none. The only little struggle is so minor, and it does not really amount to much at all. Michael has a touching relationship with his adopted sister Collins but they barely touched on that in the film, and seeing the real relationship between them made me wonder even more why they did not flesh it out.
Acting wise, a lot has been said about Sandra Bullock, she has won awards. Sandra Bullock in my opinion has always been a decent actress with the right roles. I thought she was quite good in 28 Days, which was something different for her. She is good in this film and she has a great likeness to the real Leigh Anne, they made her look a lot like her and she has the accent and voice down. She is extremely likable for the most part, and she has some really good scenes, one I really enjoyed was when she shows up the coach because she knows how to get through to Michael. But other scenes were so badly written and cheesy, I felt she struggled, as I said I could see she was not convinced. This is easily one of her best roles, but I don’t think it was one of the best for 2009 and I am sorry to say it is rather over rated.
The real surprise here though was Tim McGraw as Sean Tuohy, I was expecting him to be terrible but he was actually really good and made for quite a likable character. He really did the real Sean justice and I was really impressed, I actually hope he keeps on acting. Quinton Aaron as Michael was good for the most part, I felt he struggled with the role at times but you could really see he tried. I liked Kim Dickens as Mrs. Boswell it was a small role but she was nice and you like her. Ray McKinnon as Coach Cotton was cliched and he both worked and didn’t work, he was alright. Kathy Bates was Kathy Bates and even though her roll was small she was great.
Unfortunately this film is average, and with a great story to be told they really dropped the ball. It could have been so much better then it turned out, the script was not very good. The director John Lee Hancock who has done a true story sports film before with The Rookie (which is a lot better then this in every way) tried here but I don’t think this turned out as good as it should have been. I can see why people liked this, it caters to a certain audience, but it tries to pull those strings and it did not work for me. I got so much more out of the 20/20 special with the real people.
The pacing of this film is also something which didn’t work, it moves at a snails pace for no real reason at all, there could have been 30mins cut out easily. It gets a bit draggy towards the second half, and I almost found myself falling asleep at times and that is not a good thing. I can’t really recommend this when there are better films of this type out there, The Rookie and Remember The Titans to name a couple.