When a film makes me want to read the book, I can think of nothing better. When the trailers for The Blind Side started circulating I rolled my eyes. Here is another “savior” film, remember Dangerous Minds, Michelle Pfeiffer stars as Louanne Johnson, an ex-Marine and teacher who goes into the ghetto to inspire the “poor” teens to a better life? That film, no matter how well intentioned, always left a salty taste in my mouth. Was The Blind Side a sequel? Thankfully not.
In the film, Sandra Bullock has surpassed all of her other acting endeavors as hard-charging, determined and tough Samaritan Leigh Anne Tuohy – a well-intentioned suburbanite who unexpectedly and unconditionally welcomes Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), a homeless African-American youth, into her home.
Tim McGraw is holding steady and improving as an actor in his supporting role as Sean Tuohy, a “fast-food money buckets” courtesy of Taco Bell, and supportive husband to Leigh Anne, and strong father to daughter Collins (ironically played by an actress named Lily Collins) and son S.J. (Jae Head). Comic relief is provided by Head, and though we’ve only seen this 3-foot, 8-inch little person in a few television episodes (Friday Night Lights, Law and Order), his career should take a turn for the better after this movie.
A nationwide hit, The Blind Side is a beautifully crafted film, which evenly depicts all sides of this human dilemma with a crisp, straightforward energy and frankness. An unexpected aspect of the film shares that the Tuohy’s inherited an African-American kid who did not know how to play football. Now how is that for breaking stereotypes? Of course, Oher is taught how to play, which is amusing, and leads to some interesting questions from the folks watching this occur. The questions make for a nice twist to the storyline, and food for social thought.
In the midst of the holiday “end of the world” releases, it is comforting to have a film that portrays the meaning of unconditional love in our society. Director Jon Lee Hancock has a real infectious tempo, a sweet rhythm to the story and his direction of these characters is powerful and poignant, just like this true, sometimes unbelievable story.
One of the many touching scenes in the film, which is still moving even though it is also in The Blind Side movie trailer, is when Leigh Anne shows Michael his room and the young man says “I’ve never had one before.” “What, a room to yourself?” asks Leigh Anne. “No, a bed,” Michael solemnly replies. Oh heartstrings don’t play so loudly!
Not one to cry at movies? Bring tissues anyhow just in case those crocodile tears escape you.
Jamise Grace Liddell is a guest movie reviewer for the Ahwatukee Foothills News.