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Blinde Side’ Gives Sports Film Brilliance with Bullock’s Heart

Stephanie Walz | Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It’s not just your typical “Remember the Titans”-type movie about friends, teamwork, and overcoming racial stereotypes. Coming out of the shadows “The Blind Side” reveals itself as one of the year’s best films with a refreshing combination of sobering reality and light-hearted bursts of humor and philanthropic displays. Based on the novel by Michael Lewis (“The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game,” see review below), the movie portrays the true story of Sandra Bullock’s character, Leigh Anne Tuohy, who takes in an underprivileged teenager named Michael Oher after and helps him on the road to success.

Quinton Aaron plays the role of Michael Oher, an underprivileged and unmotivated youth, who is taken in by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy (Tim McGraw) and treated as a child of their own. After Oher transfers to the school that the Tuohy children attend, Leigh Anne takes him in after seeing him walking alongside the road on a cold and rainy night in an act of spontaneous charity.

She clothes him, gives him a bedroom in her home and takes the initiative to help him in school. Upon discovering his natural talent for football, the Tuohys hire a private tutor (Miss Sue, played by Kathy Bates) so that Oher can obtain a college football scholarship. After rising above prejudices and judgments, Oher goes on to play football for the Baltimore Ravens as a left tackle, one of the most crucial positions in football.

More than just a standard Hollywood “feel-good,” inspirational movie, “The Blind Side” appeals to all audiences with a perfect blend of endearing family dynamics, edge-of-your-seat sports scenes and a well-chosen cast by director John Lee Hancock that closely depict the real-life personalities of the Tuohy family. Leigh Anne’s no-mess attitude mixed with her son S.J.’s (Jae Head) similarly straightforward personality give a much needed comedic aspect to the poignant story and balance Oher’s gentle-giant nature and subdued mannerisms. The marital support and the pure-hearted interactions between the children, S.J. and Collins (Lily Collins), and Michael Oher make the story simply irresistible.

Writer Michael Lewis’ original story follows two simultaneous stories — one involving Oher and the rich but charitable Tuohy family who helps raise him and lead him to stardom, the other focusing on the position of left tackle and its significance to football and the sports-fan population.

The movie’s main downfall is that it focuses less on the football aspect as it does on the emotional connections and character transformations in the Oher-Tuohy relationship, but the combination of football and family reaches out to all types and undoubtedly tugs at the hearts of its viewers.

And even though there are a few discrepancies between the book and movie, the messages of determination, acceptance and dreams still ring true and are sure to cause a tear or two to shed from the eyes of viewers.

Breaking $129.3 million in box office sales within the first few weeks of its release, “The Blind Side” is expected to be Bullock’s best performance yet, proven by her recent award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture Drama in Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards for Leigh Anne’s combination of inspiration and comedy.

The film is a rebirth of sorts for Bullock and is expected to be a career-topping hit for her. No matter what the future of motivational sports-related movies may bring, “The Blind Side” is sure to remain visible for years to come.