The Blind Side

16 Jan

Director: John Lee Hancock (2009)

Any film that promises to warm my heart and leave me with a sense of self worth and the feeling that anything can happen if I dream big enough in reality tends to leave me with a sense of nausea. Combine this within a sports drama genre. Add that dreaded accolade ‘Based on a True Story’ and you will most likely see a me-shaped hole in the door. Nonetheless, when The Blind Side came upon my person I felt I owed it to myself as a film fan with an alleged eclectic taste to give it a watch…

After all I do love Field of Dreams.

The critically acclaimed (of course) and award-littered The Blind Side follows the story of Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), a boy from the wrong side of the tracks taken into the home of a good Christian woman, Leigh Anne – a good Southern Christian woman if the name didn’t clarify this.

Passed from foster home to foster home, Michael develops a tendency to get his Forrest Gump on and do a runner – thus preparing him for an All American football team. Worked for Forrest and it works for Michael. Actually it did; based on the book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis, the film is a semi-autobiographical account of Michael Oher, the offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens.

Illiterate and neglected by the educational system, Leigh Anne discovers Michael scores in the 98th percentile for ‘protective instincts’ and should therefore definitely pursue a career in offence. On the field that is, not upsetting people. That wouldn’t be very Christian. A real life Miss Congeniality, Sandra Bullock deserved her Academy Award for this performance, bringing a softness yet ballsy determination as she works to find a place for Michael, not only in society but also in a career.

It is a slow film with very little action, instead focusing on the development of Michael’s character as his walls are gradually broken down by Leigh Anne and his new family. It is touching to watch this huge hulk of man reveal himself to be, dare I say it, a gentle giant, made all the more pertinent through his friendship with surrogate brother and handy prop for scale comparisons, SJ (Jae Head). Despite its subject matter, it resist the made-for-TV movie pitfalls and instead presents itself as a sweetly comic account of what is essentially an admirable story about overcoming adversity, striving for the best and becoming number one.

So pretty much what all sports dramas are about then?

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