Saturday, January 02, 2010

Tonight's Movie: The Blind Side (2009)

THE BLIND SIDE is a terrific movie. I thoroughly enjoyed this warm and inspirational true story and highly recommend it.

Michael (Quinton Aaron) is a young black man without a home or family. Thanks to a series of circumstances Michael is accepted into a Christian high school, but he seems destined for failure as he struggles not only with academics, but with survival. It's heartbreaking watching Michael carrying his worldly possessions in a plastic shopping bag, hand washing his single spare shirt in a laundromat sink.

One cold night Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy (Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw), whose children attend Michael's school, learn he has nowhere to go and take him home to sleep on their sofa. The shy Michael is gradually absorbed into the Tuohy family, and with the security of a home (including his first bed) and a family, Michael blossoms. The Tuohys provide what Michael needs to succeed in academics and football, and hardworking Michael proves he is more than up to the challenges.

Sandra Bullock is simply outstanding. The Bullock personality we have come to know in many of her films vanishes as she completely becomes Leigh Anne, a Southern whirlwind who's not afraid of a challenge. Bullock very much deserves the many critical accolades she has received for this film.

The entire cast is excellent, including McGraw and Aaron; Lily Collins and Jae Head, who play the Tuohy children; Kathy Bates, who plays Michael's tutor Miss Sue; and Ray McKinnon, who's memorable as the high school football coach. Several college football coaches who recruited Michael play themselves.

The movie is touching without being treacly or manipulative. It feels honest, and there is a great deal of humor to leaven the story of Michael's challenges.

This film is rated PG-13, but the dialogue which causes the rating is brief and obscure enough that I would have no problem with my 11-year-old seeing it. The positive messages in the film about perseverance and Christian love far outweigh any negatives.

For more on the film, see the L.A. Times review by Betsy Sharkey.

THE BLIND SIDE is directed by John Lee Hancock, who made the wonderful film THE ROOKIE (2002). It runs 128 minutes.

I can't remember the last time I went to see three new films in the span of a couple of weeks. THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG, UP IN THE AIR, and THE BLIND SIDE were all excellent movies. It's quite a refreshing change that there are several films simultaneously in release which are so worthwhile.


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