Co-Writer/Director: John Lee Hancock
Running Time: 129 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12
UK Release Date: 26th March 2010
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 9th April 2010.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This film was nominated for the best picture Oscar in 2010, it didn’t win, but Sandra Bullock did pick up the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. Given all this recognition I decided I’d better see what all the fuss was about. I have to say that, as a Brit, I and don’t really follow any American sports which it made it a little hard to follow in places, but I expected that. I’ve seen the Super Bowl on TV and have seen films such as ‘Any Given Sunday’ which have given me a bit of an insight into the game and the attention it gets over there. Having said that, the film isn’t all about American Football, it’s more about relationships and how helping out a fellow human being can bring something good. Oh, and it’s based on a true story. Here’s a brief summary before I give you my thoughts (summary haters, and those that don’t wish to know about the plot, please block that guy trying to sneak around the sideline while I write the next paragraph).
Michael ‘Big Mike’ Oher has had it rough all his life, his mother is a crack addict, his father has disappeared, but he has one thing in his favour, he’s big… really big. More by luck than design, he gets enrolled into a predominantly white Christian school. His teachers don’t really hold out much hope for him since he seems disinterested in classes, but one teacher, Mrs. Boswell, discovers he is maybe not as dumb as they first thought. He is befriended by young S.J. Tuohy, the son of Leigh Ann and Sean Tuohy. Recognising that Michael has nobody to look after him, the very driven Leigh Ann decides to take him in. Eventually his grades improve and he is allowed to play sports. He is, not surprisingly chosen for the Football team. After a stuttering start, and a bit of coaching from Leigh Ann and S.J., he finally gets the hang of the game and from here, as they say, the rest is history. I’ll leave my summary here so as not to infringe those NFL Spoiler Police.
This is a very heart-warming film that will appeal to the North American audience more than most of the rest of the world. I found it to be very well made with a few good performances. As far as that goes, I thought Sandra Bullock was good as Leigh Ann Tuohy, but Oscar worthy? I’ll let you decide. Tim McGraw did a fair job as Sean Tuohy and I thought Quinton Aaron played the understated Michael Oher very well. Jae Head reminded me a little of a young Macaulay Culkin as S.J. Tuohy and Lily Collins was ok as Collins Tuohy (the daughter). Honourable mentions go to Ray McKinnon as Coach Burt Cotton, Kim Dickens as Mrs. Boswell and there was a nice cameo from Kathy Bates as Miss Sue.
So we have a very rich family taking in a young black boy who happens to be an athlete. The cynical among us would instantly put this back on the shelf and leave it there, but I found it surprisingly better than I first thought it would be. Mainly due to the understated performance of Quinton Aaron, his performance really made the story work (for me). Contrast that with the outgoing and boisterous S.J. and it’s a combination that really works. The scenes where this pair is on screen really stand out. Over all, I found it a little too long and a little too schmaltzy for my taste, but worth one viewing… Recommended, for the one viewing only… then you can move on.
My Score: 6.4/10
(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0878804/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1212694-blind_side/
Official Site: http://www.theblindsidemovie.com/dvd/index.html