The Blind Side
Title: The Blind Side
Author: Best Actress - Sandra Bullock (2009)
The Blind Side follows the true story of a young man who went from abandonment to success as a pro-football player. Michael Oher, a hulking but gentle African-American teen in Tennessee, gets taken in by a well-to-do white family; the mother, Leigh Anne Touhy, pushes and mothers the boy, who eventually wins a football scholarship to the University of Mississippi.
In the wrong hands, this could have been maudlin, manipulative, and condescending. To the credit of writer-director John Lee Hancock, adapting Michael Lewis’s acclaimed book, the result is intelligent, genuine, and alternately funny and moving. Leigh Anne could easily have been grandstanding and virtuous, but Bullock doesn’t shy away from her vain and domineering side. The football scenes will be gripping even to non-sports fans because they’ve been so successfully grounded in Michael’s emotional life. The all-around solid cast includes country music star Tim McGraw, pint-sized Jae Head (Hancock), and Kathy Bates as the tutor who guided Michael’s academic success. Don’t be surprised if you can’t keep yourself from watching all the real-life photos of Michael, Leigh Anne, and the rest of the family that are featured in the credits; by the end of the movie, you will care about them all. —Bret Fetzer