As Sandra Bullock’s character, Leigh Anne Tuohy, begins narrating at the beginning of the movie in a corny and forced Southern drawl, the film appeared headed for nothing short of an apocalyptic disaster to the tune of 2012. However, as I stared at the blank screen with only the sound of Mrs. Tuohy’s narrative to fill the theater, immediately regretting my decision to spend money on a movie to which I already knew the outcome, I was unaware that I would be more than pleasantly surprised by the uplifiting qualities of The Blind Side.
The story revolves around that of current Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Michael Oher and the difficulties he faced as a child and adolescent. Yet, director John Lee Hancock doesn’t try to fit the film into the stereotypical sports movie category. Instead, the film focuses on the loving, compassionate Tuohy family—a wealthy, white, conservative, evangelical family led by the mother, Leigh Anne—and their acceptance of “Big Mike,” who, if not for the Tuohys, would not have a place to sleep.
Michael is a shy, kind and uneducated adolescent from the Hurt Projects in Memphis, TN who earns a scholarship to attend Briarcrest Christian School. It is his potential of athletic prowess as a 6’4” 300-pound giant and not his grades that wins him the scholarship. Oher lacks the learning or communication skills to succeed in the classroom and is extremely incapable of indicating his own desires.
Two of Michael’s classmates, Collins and S.J., happen to be the children of the Tuohys. On a cold and rainy night, the Tuohy family is driving home when Leigh Anne spots Michael walking in his staple gray polo and baggy shorts. Leigh Anne invites Michael to stay the night at their mansion. As she’s getting ready for bed, Leigh Anne discusses with her husband Sean, played by singer Tim McGraw, if she did the right thing, wondering aloud if Michael might steal something. However, when she wakes up she walks downstairs to find all of the sheets she gave Michael neatly folded on the couch on which he slept that night.
The night spent in the Touhy household is only the beginning of a very loving relationship between Michael and the Tuohy family, most notably between young S.J. and Michael. S.J. adores Michael as a big brother figure. It’s not long before the Ole Miss football fanatic family has Michael out for football. Yet, it is quickly apparent Michael doesn’t have much knowledge on how to play the game.
Nevertheless, with some instruction from Leigh Anne and younger son S.J., Michael blossoms into one of the best offensive linemen prospects in the country.
The film could not have been more perfectly cast. Quinton Aron plays Michael Oher as the harmless giant, whose luck takes a turn for the best thanks to the graciousness and support of the Tuohys. Bullock excels as the stubborn yet loveable, outspoken yet sincere and driven yet caring motherly figure. Jae Head plays the precocious and infectious youngster S.J.
This movie has to be one of the finest feel-good family flicks of the year and in perfect occasion for this time of seasonal generosity. The film will make you laugh, make you angry and make you gasp. Yet, The Blind Side is nothing short of inspirational and even more compelling as a true story, making it a must-see family film during the holidays. I give it 2.5 out of 3 crowns.