The Blind Side

The Blind Side

Film review by: Witney Seibold

Based on a true story, this is one of those rare films that is a mere trifle, but somehow manages to be praised as an Important Movie. “The Blind Side” is no more or less offensive than it sounds at first description, but it’s hardly revolutionary, or even all that great. It’s racist, and boldly promotes a right-wing ethos, but you’ll only be grunting in disapproval for certain moments. Somehow, through this film, lead actress Sandra Bullock managed to win an Academy Award.

Bullock plays Leigh Anne Tuohy, an upper-class workin’ gal in a rich suburb of Memphis. She is pushy and bold, and often gets what she wants. Her family is content to get out of her way, giving twinkling smirks when they see her set her sights on some impossible task that she will inevitably obtain. Her husband is played by Tim McGraw. Her daughter is played by Lily Collins, who serves as smiling bland wallpaper, and her son is played by Jae Head, who is only slightly more annoying that Spritle Racer; there needs to be a moratorium on precocious little kids.

Leigh Anne spots a poor black boy wandering the street one night. This is Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), a boy who managed to get enrolled in a mostly-white upscale school far from his home. He is essentially homeless, and is at risk. He is on the run from his horrible homelife, and the drug dealers in his old neighborhood. It’s tempting, at this point, to draw parallels between Michael and the title characters from “Precious,” but sine “The Blind Side” is told from Leigh Anne’s perspective, we never really get to know Michael. He’s a gentle giant, a potential cash cow, and a pet project for a busybody white woman. Leigh Anne takes him in, and it’s not long before he’s being called a member of the family.

Aside from Michael, the black people in this movie are all poor or criminals. The “wicked” characters who doubt Leigh Anne are all particularly Southern; either racist rednecks or clucking antebellum society dames. Even the government programs setup to help Michael are ineffectual. The secondary schools in “Precious” were a genuine boon to a real character suffering the worst possible fates. The government aid in “The Blind Side” only serves as an impediment to Leigh Anne’s comfort and happiness. Perhaps I’m reading too much into that, but it sounds like a Big Government vs. Small Government argument to me.

There’s a sport movie subplot which seems to distract from the movie. Michael, it turns out, is really good at football, and has the opportunity to go to several colleges. The NCAAP worries that Michael is being groomed by a pair of boosters to support their own college. Never mind that his life is undeniably better than it was.

I’m not going to go so far as to call “The Blind Side” a bad movie. It’s actually well-directed, decently–acted, and even has a competent screenplay. It’s full of that good old Hollywood schamltz that even the strongest of us has an innate weakness for, and it’s easy to walk out feeling good. I was kind of indifferent. It wasn’t bad enough to lambaste, but wasn’t good enough to outright recommend. It’s certainly an overrated film and now that the Academy Awards have taken place, the film can drift away to video shelves, largely forgotten other than it was the film Bullock won an Oscar for.

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Published in: on March 17, 2010 at 1:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

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