Review #1 – The Blind Side
In my first film of this Pre- Super Bowl, Post- Academy Award nomination review, I find it fitting that it is The Blind Side, a movie about football, and how some can be just privileged by simply playing the game. For those whom are not familiar, it is the story of a teenage boy named Michael Oher, abandoned by his father, removed from his mother’s custody, and bounced around from home to home, family to family, school to school until being taken in by the Tuohy family, and given a home, where he thrived, learned football, earned a scholarship to Ole Miss, and eventually was an All American.
Films that I call great are usually the ones that wrap you up, drag you in; Quiton Aarons does just that. His soft spoken nature, a gentle giant, with a silence that is both palpable and heart wrenching. The feelings elicited are of sorrow, of sadness, for his struggles in silence as he does not trust anyone around him to share his pain. His loneliness and gentle nature are seen throughout the film, creating a charged empathetic feeling to all around him. There are points where talking does it all, but silence says more; kudos to John Lee Hancock for just allowing the uncomfortable silence to settle in and win our hearts and minds.
Sandra Bullock (as Leigh Ann Tuohy) reminds me much of my mother: a type-a person who is in control of every situation, and you will never see her cry. Instead, in a vulnerable moment, she gets gruff, and at her warmest she even keeps a coolness to her. She is not afraid to stand up to anyone in her way, and acts as a defender to the defenseless. But 2 Questions remain: Is this an Oscar-caliber role, and is this a best picture film?
Truth be told, on both accounts, no. While it is a VERY fine film, and brings up emotions and feelings, makes you want to hug Michael and help him, it doesn’t do much to wow you from a film makers standpoint. It leaves it all up to the emotions; and there are more then enough there to fill Vaught-Hemingway Stadium at Ole Miss, it isn’t enough to carry this to Oscar glory. Sandra Bullock’s no-nonsense way of gruff tenderness, though very heartfelt and warm in a controlled manor, did nothing to wow me like Helen Mirran in “The Queen” in 2007, or Charlize Theron in “Monster” in 2004 – The feeling you get while watching, just knowing your witnessing something special, a once in a lifetime combination of role and talent. I did not get that feeling from here, neither from the film or from Sandra Bullock. I enjoyed the film very much, right up until the ending credits, with Roger Goodell standing at the podium at the 2009 NFL Draft saying
“With the 23rd pick of the 2009 Draft, The New England Patriots trade their pick to the Baltimore Ravens who select… Michael Oher, Ole Miss…”
I cried the hardest then. Man, my Patriots needed a left tackle this year.
Damn you Bellicheck. Damn you.