The Blind Side

Posted on December 4, 2009


It’s a sports movie. Sure, it’s cliché, like 95% of mainstream sports movies, but that doesn’t drag it down. Lemme’ tell ya’ why.

Football is an important piece of the puzzle, but it is never held in higher regard than the characters. It doesn’t focus on his final destination, a chance to play in the NFL, but on how he was able to simply get to the point, where he even had that chance. As a matter of fact, there are only three or so scenes where we see Michael in his football uniform or on a football field. Football is what he was able to do extremely well, but only after all the help from the Tuohys, to just get his life in order. This is just as much a story about the Touhy’s discovery that they’ve lived a sheltered life and there’s more to life than just money and material things. In one scene in particularly you see this, when Leigh Anne makes the comment that she isn’t changing Michael Oher’s life, but he is changing hers.

Michael Oher spent his first 16 years in a shell. He doesn’t say much, he is almost entirely detached from the world around him, seemingly crushed by his harsh past and unable to relate to those around him. He’s forced to sleep on friends’ couches or in the school gymnasium, wash his clothes in a sink, then sneak his laundry into other folks’ dryers at the laundromat, and take leftover popcorn bags from the school basketball games for food. The silence of Michael, says so much more in this film than anything else I feel. The silent treatment was always one of the worst forms of discipline as I grew up, so this really struck home. Silence, to me, means you are trying to get a point across. Michael wasn’t though, he simply didn’t have the ability or desire to carry on conversation.

My favorite scene is when Leigh Anne Touhy, asks Michael, to tell her one thing she needs to know about him. Instead of lamenting about his hard and unfortunate childhood, Oher looks at her and says, “I don’t like being called Big Mike.” It’s at that moment, that Leigh Anne Touhy, and the audience suddenly discover that ‘Michael’ is a person who is simply trying to make his way through life the best way he can. Not someone who is trying to make it to the NFL or someone with enormous dreams, he just wants to get through life happily. I think most importantly, it shows that he just wants to be part of a family. He finds family not only with the Touhys, but with his football teams after he leaves ‘home’.

Just so you know, the film does address the allegations, that Oher was simply taken in, so that he could be directed and influenced to play football at Ole Miss, the alma mater of the Tuohy family. I wasn’t expecting this to actually be included in the film, since it strikes a large negative in the amazing amount of positivite that radiates from his story. They did though, which made me love it even more; so much actual truth in it, and not all the happy, happy, joy, joy stuff you would normally find. The film’s answer to that question, ‘Why did the Tuohys take in Oher?’, is perfect. Without definitively answering that question, the film poses one of its own: Why don’t more people follow their lead?

Director: John Lee Hancock

Writers: John Lee Hancock, Michael Lewis

Starring: Quinton Aaron, Sandra Bullock, Jae Head

Rating: PG-13, Completely family friendly in my book.

Posted in: Film, Review