Sunday, September 8, 2013

Movie Review: The Blind Side

Blind side poster.jpg

1. Short review: 

2. Long review:
2.1. What I liked: The message. This movie wrapped its message in a pretty package, but it is the message that shines through.

2.2. What I did not like: The fact that I missed it in theaters. 

2.3. Who I think is the audience: Everyone. You especially.

2.4. Is the movie appropriate for children to see? Yes. Without a doubt.

2.5. On the basis of viewing this movie, will I pay to see the sequel? There cannot and need not be a sequel. But if there were, I would pay to see it. 

2.6. Rating and the plot in a nutshell:

2.6.1. How I rate movies:
-- I want my money back.
-- Worth a rental, not more. 
-- Worth first-run theater price once.
-- I will pay first-run theater price to see it again. <-- The Blind Side

Running time: 129 minutes.

2.6.2. The plot in a nutshell:
     Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), abandoned by his addict of a mother, is living on the streets where Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) finds him and takes him into her home. He becomes one of the Tuohy family, first by heart, then by law.
     Michael goes out for football in high school and becomes a phenomenon. Colleges across the country recruit him. He chooses Ole Miss, the school the Tuohys attended. The NCAA investigates to determine if there was anything untoward in Michael's choice of Ole Miss. Michael convinces the investigator his choice was sincere. 
     Michael excels in his position at Ole Miss and is drafted by the Baltimore Ravens.
2.7. Other:

     I missed this movie in theaters and saw it first on TV. May have been VOD. I do not recall. I have seen it, oh, three more times and enjoyed every viewing.

     The movie cost $29,000,000 to make and, in theaters alone, earned $255,959,475.

     Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy. Word is that Bullock turned down the role three times. Then she 'visited' with Leigh Anne Tuohy. After that 'visit', Bullock accepted the role and took a pay cut. That musta been some 'visit'. 
     If she would take the job, Leigh Anne Tuohy would make a great US Secretary of State.

     I agree that Sandra Bullock gave a fine performance in The Blind Side, but I preferred the performance Quinton Aaron gave as Michael Oher. His performance was subtle and self-deprecating but always on point and strong. Soft but strong.

     What is the message of The Blind Side?
     Blood and skin color do not make family. Heart makes family.
     There are two scenes that define The Blind Side.
     In the first, Leigh Anne Tuohy confronts the gangbanger Alton in front of the apartment where she suspects Michael went the night before (clip above):
                      LEIGH ANNE
          Michael was here?

          Last night. Sneaked me then took
          off like a little bitch. So you
          tell him, sleep with one eye open.
          You hear me, bitch?

          [Leigh Anne steps closer to Alton, stares him down.]

                         LEIGH ANNE
          No, you hear me, bitch. You
          threaten my son, you threaten me.
     Leigh Anne referred to Michael as her son. In her heart, that's what he is.
     In the second scene that defines the movie, Michael faces the NCAA investigator Granger and answers the question of why he chose Ole Miss:
          You never asked why I wanted to go

          All right, fine, Michael... why do
          you want to go to Ole Miss?

          It's where my family goes to
          school. It's where they've always
          gone to school.
     To me, this is the one scene that defines the movie. Michael considers the Tuohys his family.

     I am an adopted son.
     As far back as I can recall, I have always known that family is a matter not of blood but of heart.
     There was a time when adoption was a hot topic. There were made-for-TV movies about adopted kids searching for their birth parents. I was home from college, and we watched one of those movies. I sat there thinking about the search. Wondering.
     My father opened the topic.
     "You ever want to find out who you came from?"
     Me: "Hadn't given it much thought."
     Pause. "Tell you what. If you want to search for them, I'll support you for a year while you search."
     I looked at my father.
     "You don't have to answer right now. But I want an answer before you go back to school tomorrow night."
     The next night at supper, Daddy looked at me and said, "Well?" We both knew what he meant.
     I answered, "I know who my father is."
     Daddy nodded. He daubed at his eyes with his napkin and did not eat much that night. I saw silent tears running down my mother's face.
     Family is not a matter of blood. Family is a matter of heart.
     Michael Oher knows who his family is. So do I.

     I watched The Blind Side on cable again and discovered why I think Quinton Aaron's performance superior to Sandra Bullock's. Sandra Bullock's portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy does not vary from start to finish. The character is the same at the end as she was in the beginning. One trick pony. In contrast, Quinton Aaron changed the character of Michael Oher. When you watch the movie, mark the facial expressions of Michael Oher at the beginning of the movie and again when he begins school at Ole Miss. Quinton Aaron portrayed an unhappy kid who became a happy man. I think that takes a great deal more acting skill: to portray a changing character. And Quinton Aaron did it with his face. Kudos to Quinton Aaron.


2.8. Links:

IMDb review
Rotten Tomatoes review

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