The Blind Side (PG-13) ★★★★

An Incredible Story Based On Love

“The Blind Side,” boasts a strong script centering on the heartwarming inspirational true story of a homeless black teen (Michael Oher).  He’s adopted by a wealthy white family who nurture his academic and athletic skills. Sandra Bullock stars as a strong-willed mother (Leigh Anne Tuohy) who convinces her laid-back husband, played by Tim McGraw, to take a homeless teen into their home. It’s a leap of faith decision that pays off big time for the family as Michael teaches them significant life lessons.

Sandra Bullock gives a stellar performance as the unstoppable Leigh Anne Tuohy. She has a scene with Michael’s High School football coach, played by Ray McKinnon, which is one of the best of the year. Bullock interrupts a football practice to help Michael clearly understand the job he is to do on the field. By this point in the story, her character is so well developed that we’d expect nothing less from her. Her timing is impeccable and when she is finished with her ‘coaching moment’ you’ll continue to cheer this determined mother onward.

The film is based on the best-selling book The Blind Side: Evolution of the Game by the accomplished author Michael Lewis. The director and screenwriter is John Hancock who directed “The Rookie” and “The Alamo.”  Quinton Aaron makes his major film debut as Michael Oher and gives a gentle yet serious performance as a teen raised in a ghetto of Memphis appropriately named ‘Hurt Village.’  His own mom was incapable of caring for him or any members of his family as she was strung out on drugs. When the film begins, Michael  (a Junior in High School) is staying temporarily with the janitor of the school where Leigh Anne Tuohy’s children attend.

Michael eventually becomes a part of the Tuohy family. His education and athletic abilities are put to the test and these problems are not easily overcome. “The Blind Side” doesn’t sugar coat Michael’s situation. The hard work and determination ‘had’ to come from within Michael. He struggles and we silently root for his success.  Amazingly when this unique opportunity is handed to him, he rises to the occasion and plows through. The Tuohy’s hire a compassionate tutor, played by the Academy Award® winning Kathy Bates, to help him along as he has no chance of a college football scholarship without an acceptable grade point average. NCAA rules are set in stone and there is no chance of getting around them.

What this family does for Michael Oher is incredible as little did they know that the course they set for him was the catalyst for what eventually turns out to be to creation of not only an All American college football player, but a first round draft choice in the NFL. (Michael Oher is currently in his rookie year with the Baltimore Ravens).

The film alone tugs at all the heartstrings; don’t be surprised if you find yourself tearing up by this story. Michael is portrayed as a gentle teddy bear that’s been given unfortunate life circumstances. When given chances and encouragement he soars. It’s a feel-good family story that is a must-see for all. My only regret is that the film has been released in PG-13. I would have preferred a PG rating to include a wider audience.

Sarah Adamson © November 2009