Plot summary (with possible spoilers): Michael Oher (played by Quinton Aaron) is a hulking mass of a teenager who is essentially homeless due to his mother’s drug addictions. Michael has been staying with friend Steve Hamilton (Paul Amadi) and his family, but that situation is precarious. Steve’s father Tony (Omar Dorsey) does what he can to help Michael, which includes talking the football coach, Mr. Cotton (Ray McKinnon), at a private Christian school into accepting both Steve and Michael as students. At first Coach Cotton is reluctant because Michael’s grades are terrible and his aptitude test scores don’t show any promise. But after one look at how big Michael is and considering what he might be able to do for the football team, Coach Cotton succeeds in getting the boy admitted.
Soon, however, Steve’s mother insists that Michael has to leave her house. After all, they can’t continue taking care of him indefinitely. Thus Michael is left to wear the same clothes day after day and wander around aimlessly after school with nothing to do. One night, he attracts the attention of interior decorator Leigh Ann Tuohy (Sandra Bullock), who is surprised to see Michael walking in shorts even though it’s very cold out. She convinced husband Sean (Tim McGraw) to bring Michael back to their house, where he camps out on the couch.
Michael doesn’t talk much, so it takes a long time for Leigh Ann to get his full story. Once she realizes that he’s got no place to go, she immediately opens her home to him. This gets her snooty friends talking, but Leigh Ann doesn’t care. It’s the Christian thing to do, so she welcomes Michael with open arms. Her children SJ (Jae Head) and Collins (Lily Collins) do, too.
The rest of the film then shows how Michael develops into an incredible football player and a top recruit out of high school. We see how hard he worked to get his grades up enough to accept a scholarship to play Division I ball, and how the Tuohys provided a tutor named Miss Sue (Kathy Bates) to ensure that he had all the help he needed. Finally, Michael is able to graduate from high school and attend Ole Miss on a full football scholarship. Miss Sue accompanies him there to ensure that he keeps up his grades. Eventually, Michael Oher would become the first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2009 NFL draft.
My Reaction: I thought The Blind Side was a great film! It’s so nice to get a feel-good story every once in a while, and the fact that this one is about a current football player just makes it even better in my opinion. I know that some critics out there are moaning about how not every single detail or event depicted in the film actually happened in real life, but I don’t really care about that. This movie was based on a true story. It’s a Hollywood film, not a documentary!
I thought Sandra Bullock was amazing in this film. I don’t know what the real Leigh Ann Tuohy is like, but she came off as a wonderful woman here. Bullock’s Tuohy was no-nonsense yet compassionate and loving at the same time, which was precisely what was called for. I could really believe that someone like Leigh Ann Tuohy — as depicted by Bullock — would take in this stranger and make sure he got what he needed to make a life for himself.
I also liked how the film addressed the potentially seedy side of the Tuohys’ actions. I never considered that some wealthy boosters might actively seek out gifted athletes from poor families and adopt them just so the kids would play for the boosters’ alma mater. But I guess that’s a legitimate concern for the NCAA. I don’t think the Tuohys had ulterior motives at all, though, and I’m glad that was made clear in the film.
Overall, The Blind Side is easily one of the best films I’ve seen all year. It’s not likely to win any awards, but it’s definitely worth watching. It’s based on a compelling true story, has some good performances in it, and moves along very quickly for a 2-hour film. And you better believe I’ll be following Michael Oher’s career with Baltimore a lot more closely now! I give this movie 4 stars out of 5.