“The Blind Side is a must see.”

_ The Blind Side _

Title: The Blind Side

I like a good underdog story. Remember the Titans or Erin Brockovich. What I don’t like is manipulation; those films that try and play your heart strings with scene after scene of emotional drivel in order to cover up for a lack of depth and likeable characters. There has to be an element of entertainment in any movie or else the audience is going to feel cheated. And I don’t mean entertainment for humors sake. There is little to laugh about in Titanic but if your characters are strong enough and the facts pure enough then there is an element of enjoyment even if not in the true definition of the word. You benefit from watching it even if you know their situation is dire. The Blind Side never has to apologize for its actions. It tells the story with a beauty and intelligence that is mentally engaging as well as entertaining. That is a good balance.

The Blind Side is the true story of a Memphis family who go out of their way to help out a young, impoverished student. The last thing on their mind was a book deal, movie rights, NFL drafts and red carpet premiers. They simply saw a need and did something about it. Period. Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) was a homeless teen struggling in school and with no clear hope for the future. Sean and Leigh Anne Touhy (Tim McGraw/Sandra Bullock) are the prominent family who took him in and gave him a place to sleep for the night. The one night turned in to many and before long they were sowing into this young man an opportunity to achieve things in life that none of them imagined. By the way, Oher is now a rookie for the Baltimore Ravens and playing in the NFL. Not a bad outcome for a guy most had turned their backs on as a young boy.

When I watched the trailer I was concerned that Bullock was playing her character to extremes. A blonde Bullock was one thing but this powerhouse with a southern drawl was too much. Then I met the real Leigh Ann Touhy and realized that Sandra was almost down playing her intensity and passion. It is safe to say that the characters in this film make it work as much as the story itself. They are likeable and over the top and too good to be true. Leigh Ann says the things we want to. Her family, though affluent, are still typical people. This makes for a lot of humor to balance out the dramatic elements of the film. To label this just another feel good story or an underdog sports documentary would be a travesty. If it where fiction it would still be entertaining and heart warming. The fact that it is true makes it outstanding and powerfully moving.

The Blind Side is rated PG-13 for one scene involving brief violence, drug and sexual references. This is a must see film for your family this Holiday season. Take out the one very brief scene that is so important in showing the life Oher came from and you have a film that is very safe, spiritual and thought provoking. I believe all young people need to see this movie with their families and then talk about what they can do in their own neighborhood and schools to reach out to someone in need. Sure, the Touhy situation is rare and we can’t all go to the extremes they did. But we can all do something and I dare you to walk away from this movie denying that fact. I give it 4.5 out of 5 rookies of the year. In this season of being thankful it is a good reminder to share what we have with others. So says Matt Mungle.

Matt Mungle (matt@mungleshow.com)

(4.5 out of 5)

Review copyright 2009 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

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