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The Blind Side

The Blind Side

Director:John Lee Hancock
Cast:Sandra Bullock, Tim Mcgraw, Quinton Aaron, Jae Head, Lily Collins, Ray Mckinnon
Release Date:2009

Opens Nov. 20

By Wendy Ward | Posted 11/18/2009

Author Michael Lewis' 2006 book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game focuses on the significance of football's offensive lineman position, including the story of Ole Miss tackle Michael Oher. It sounds like insider-football philosophy, as does the voice-over narration from Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) over old footage--football fans love their game footage--of linebacker Lawrence Taylor in the opening sequence of The Blind Side, directed by John Lee Hancock.

Oh Leigh Anne, in her gold chain belts and blond bangs tossing around her power Southern drawl--once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader. She drives a BMW, lunches with rich ladies, and interior decorates for a living, although her husband Sean (Tim McGraw playing the loving husband as well as he does to Faith Hill) makes a bundle franchising major fast-food restaurants in Memphis, Tenn. The two Tuohy kids, S. J. (Jae Head) and Collins (Lily Collins), go to Christian school and so does quiet Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), a huge black kid from the Hurt Village projects, undereducated, taken away from a drug-addled mother, and temporarily staying on a friend's couch.

Michael--kids and teachers call him Big Mike--goes to the school on a kind of charity sports scholarship, but it doesn't mean he has a real home or more than two T-shirts. Leigh Anne takes him under her pink satin wing--seems she's the only one asking a kid walking down the road on a rainy night if he has a place to go.

Bullock plays Leigh Anne with a no-nonsense hospitality and momma-bear strength under which Big Mike slowly lets down his protective walls. And Aaron portrays great emotion--this kid will break your heart, trust--behind his eyes and with every lumbering step he takes. Both the Tuohy family and Michael take the relationship one step at a time: never too familiar until all parties agree on the level of dependence, intimacy, or touch. There is no other way it would have worked.

It's not all magic and Friday night lights once Michael hits the field, but his already established sports skills need coaching, like he just needed nurturing, to reach full potential--and that's what this feel-good, holiday football movie is driving home. If the photo montage of the real life Tuohys with Oher at the end of the movie--including him getting drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft--doesn't get you all emotional, shame on you.

E-mail Wendy Ward

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