Movie: The Blind Side
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Quinton Aron, Tim DeGraw, Kathy Bates
Directed by: John Lee Hancock
Written by: Michael Lewis (book), John Lee Hancock (screenplay)
Runtime: 129 mins
Blu-ray Release Date: March 23, 2010
The Blind Side is the true story of Michael Oher, a homeless African-American teenager who after passing from foster home to foster home is eventually taken in by a wealthy white family. There, the quiet, illiterate teen is shown the love and affection that allow him to open up as a human being, to improve as a student, and to embrace his God-given gift: smashing linebackers. Despite racial overtones some may find questionable, this Disney-produced film is, for the most part, a well-acted, heart-warming true story. Thankfully, it has just enough football to keep the average home theater guy’s attention, too.
Michael Oher (played by Quinton Aron) grew up in the inner city projects of Memphis, Tennessee. Son of an absent father and a drug-addicted mother, at a young age Michael was torn from his family and forced to live in foster homes throughout the remainder of his childhood. Unfortunately, being passed from home to home was hardly conducive to his academic or athletic development. By the time he hit high school, Michael still couldn’t read. Luckily, his enormous size was the only prerequisite of importance for the football coach of an up-scale Christian high school, and soon after Oher was attending one of the city’s best institutions. Still, Michael continued to struggle until befriended by the much-younger Sean Junior (S.J.) Tuohy. S.J.’s mother, Leigh Anne (Sandra Bullock), soon identified Michael as being in need of special attention, and eventually invited him to live with the wealthy family, whose male lead Sean (Tim DeGraw) had amassed a fortune through fast-food chains. Michael, for the first time in his life immersed in a caring, supportive environment thereafter receives the guidance and private tutoring he desperately needs to improve his marks and chances at a brighter future. His grades climb, he’s allowed to try out for the football team, and his enormous size eventually assures him a spot on any number of college rosters. Today, Michael Oher is a star for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=3749&w=m[/img]Obviously, the movie has a captivating, heart-warming story – that much cannot be dismissed. However, it’s not a particularly novel tale, and falls into a rather formulaic plot development. Boy is abused, boy stumbles upon nice family, nice family faces criticism for racial intermingling, boy and nice family conquer all. In addition, I sometimes had issues with the way the story was told – yes, Sandra Bullock turns in a fine (though probably not Oscar-worthy) performance as Leigh Ann Tuohy, but isn’t this movie about Michael? Isn’t he the character who faces the most challenges? Too often the focus seems to slip away from Oher and fall on the Tuohys, particularly Leigh-Ann. I think criticisms of this, along with the idea that the film seems to highlight white middle class compassion over the achievements of this remarkable young man, is entirely valid. I also had a hard time stomaching some of the acting: Bullock is very good, but boy was I irritated with the kid who played S.J. The thought of that gangley, obnoxious, ADHD-fueled performance still sends creepy chills up my spine.
Still, I am probably not the target audience for this film, a movie that begs its viewers to simply go with the flow rather than pick apart its rose-colored nuances. True story or not, be prepared for fantasy just this side of Lord of the Rings.
It's as clean as you can get. There's some discussion of drug use, but no nudity or course language.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=3750&w=m[/img]There’s much less to criticize when it comes to The Blind Side’s video. Noise is totally absent, edges are razor sharp, and colors fall right in the sweet spot just between natural and vivid. The bright green of the football field pops against the deep, dark green of the Crusaders uniforms. Like noise, edge enhancement is virtually non-existent.
Despite its football theme, The Blind Side is a dialogue-driven film. As such, there are few instances that truly drive the subwoofer or back speakers, with the bulk of the audio emanating from the center channel. However, exceptions will be found during those brief but brilliant on-field sequences where Oher slams full-force into members of the opposing defensive line. The earthy boom accompanying these moments are often worth the wait, but they’re too few and far between for me.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=3751&w=m[/img]The Blind Side does an unusually nice job with the HD content, offering an exclusive interview with the real Michael Oher, a featurette on the real-life college football coaches who appear in the film (with some unintentionally comical acting in tow), and a special feature following lead actor Quinton Aron, who experienced a childhood not dramatically different than the football player he portrays. There’s also a lengthy series of dialogues with Sandra Bullock and the real Leigh-Ann Tuohy, which will surely fascinate those who loved the former’s performance and Oscar night acceptance speech.
The Blind Side is a good film, but not at all worthy of its Best Picture Oscar nomination. Beyond Bullock’s Leigh-Ann Tuohy, its characters are very one-dimensional and its story simple and formulaic. However, that’s not to say viewers won’t find it and the many HD extras both heartwarming and enjoyable.