Movie Review: The Blind Side (2009)

February 24, 2010 in Movie Reviews by pacejmiller

I can’t believe I am saying this, but I loved The Blind Side.

When I first laid eyes on the poster with a blonde Sandra Bullock and a big, black American footballer, I groaned.  With a name like The Blind Side and a poster like that, I expected a sappy, saccharine melodrama in the vein of Pay It Forward and Stepmom.

I was wrong.

The Blind Side is a film about compassion, prejudice, family, chance, and the virtues of hard work.  It tells the inspirational true story of Michael Oher, an underprivileged (albeit talented) African-American youth, and his relationship with Leigh Anne Tuohy, a wealthy white woman from the other side of town.  As per usual, I won’t say much more than that.  If you don’t know who Michael Oher is, great.  Don’t look him up before seeing the movie.

Two things really surprised me about The Blind Side.

First, it is so much better than it should have been.  The Blind Side is truly a terrific film.  One that pulls at the heart strings without trying to tear them down.  It may have been a little sappy and a little melodramatic at times, but for the most part, director and screenwriter John Lee Hancock (The Rookie, The Alamo) manages to keep the film from tipping over the edge.  There are numerous moments that will warm your heart, but very few that will make you cringe in discomfort.

Second, Sandra Bullock is good.  There, I said it.  Sandra Bullock is good in The Blind Side.  I may have ranted about her Oscar nomination but I now think she is deserving.  Bullock’s really not that much better than she was in her other movies, but when you stick an average actress in a great film and the perfect role, anything is possible.  While I don’t think Bullock deserves to win (though I think she probably will), I admit I was wrong to compare her to Matthew McConaughey.  That was low, even for me.

There’s not too much to complain about The Blind Side.  The length (128 minutes) is fine, the pacing is good, and the sporadic humour is lighthearted and in the right spirit.  The only thing is that it’s a little too neat and tidy.  There are some very ugly issues underlying the film, but it never felt like they were properly confronted.  Too sanitised, perhaps, and consequently missing that raw emotional power.

It would have been easy to dismiss The Blind Side as a “white people are so wonderful” movie, except that it is a true story.  Romanticised, perhaps, but a true story nonetheless.  That’s what makes it remarkable.  Every time you think things are too good to be true, you just have to remind yourself that it (or something like it) actually happened.

Movies based on inspirational true stories aren’t supposed to actually leave you feeling inspired, but somehow, The Blind Side does.

4.5 stars out of 5!