Football fans and family viewers should enjoy the quiet film “The Blind Side”, starring Quinton Aaron as Michael Oher and Sarah Bullock as Leigh Anne Touhy, his adoptive mother.
The story sounds like a simple cliche that would lead a lot of people to run screaming out the door of your theatres: A Christian southern white family adopts a black homeless boy, and makes him a success.
Yet the film itself overcomes the initial impression, not the least because of the way the story was handled, with humor and solid acting.
And indeed, one reason for the movie’s success is that it is not about one character, but includes a cast of minor characters who help fill out the story.
Bullock doesn’t play a “Sandra Bullock” type character, but blossoms into a tart and practical southern lady. Michael Oher’s initially appears so withdrawn that he is taken for lacking intelligence, but with the intervention of those around him blooms into maturity. Helping round out the story is a cast of well known character actors, from Cathy Bates as his tutor, to Ray McKinnon as his coach; Adrianne Lenox as Oher’s birth mother should win a “Best Supporting Actress” award for her short but powerful scene of a woman torn between love for her child and shame that her alcoholism makes it impossible for her to have cared for him. But the real “scene stealer” is child actor Jae Head, the cheerful younger brother 0f the family who is protective of his older brother.
The title “the Blind Side” comes from American football: That the quarterback who carries the ball needs someone to protect his “blind side” if he is to make it to the goal. And it is indeed the real story, of how family and friends protect the young boy so he himself can make it into college on a football scholarship.
And it says a lot about the film makers and cast that I forgot about the racial aspects of the film halfway through it; instead, I saw my youngest son,adopted at age ten, who was shy and withdrawn, but who slowly bloomed as he realized that he was now safe and accepted by those around him.
In a season where special effectsÂ movies like “Dancing with Thundersmurfs”, whose budget is larger than that of a lot of third world countries are getting all the hype, if you want to just see a quiet, funny movie that you and your family will enjoy, you might consider going to “The Blind Side”.
I suspect the film will become a minor classic, in the same genre as “Rudy” and “Brian’s Song”: not a big movie, just a quiet movie about ordinary folks that make you feel good.
I give it a B+.
Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.