Movie: The Blind Side
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Quinton Aaron
Direction: John Lee Hancock
Rating: ***& 1/2
Here’s an inspirational saga based on the true-life story of a homeless African-American teenager who became an all-American football star. Recounting the story of the powerhouse gridiron player, Michael Oher (Aaron), The Blind Side benefits from a sturdy narrative style besides a career-defining performance by Sandra Bullock.
She portrays the sassy Southern housewife who invites the big black boy to live with her family. Groomed by his unlikely guardian angel, the youngster defies the odds to make it to the professional league.
Peopled by an always believable set of characters like the teen’s tutor (a welcome return to form by Kathy Bates) and his drug-addicted mother, the film engages us with its many moments of humour and tenderness. The scenes between the middle-aged housewife and her gentle-giant houseguest are particularly warmly etched.
However the dramatic conflicts — the racist snickering of the white folks, reservations about the foster family’s motives for sponsoring the footballer and a face-off with the gang of his former ghetto buddies — are resolved complacently. Also, the athlete’s younger brother is introduced in a restaurant scene only to be then left out of the narrative altogether.
The story is given much of its sinew and spleen by Sandra Bullock. Having snagged both the Golden Globe and the Screen Actor’s Guild awards, she is a shoo-in for the Best Actress Oscar. The outsized Quinton Aaron makes an auspicious acting debut. Be sure to check out this slice-of-a-life movie.