In Sandra Bullock’s new film, “The Blind Side,” the romantic comedy star delivers an Oscar-worthy performance in what is sure to be the feel-good tear-jerking movie of the year. That’ll come as welcomed news to not only area theaters who’ll sell-out shows, but also for the new Walgreens who’ll sell-out Kleenex.
Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy (country music’s Tim McGraw and Bullock) live in an affluent part of Memphis thanks to the dozens of fast-food franchises they own. Driving home from their son’s Thanksgiving school pageant one evening, they spot “Big Mike” (Quinton Aaron) wandering along the highway. Reacting, rather than deliberating, Leigh Anne takes him in.
Michael, they learn, is a classmate at the Toughy children’s Christian school who was accepted there after various public agencies failed him. In that caring, albeit foreign, family environment, he acclimates and it becomes apparent from his rising grades and growing trust that Leigh Anne and the teachers who take a personal interest have accomplished what no government agency can.
Eventually, his academic progress qualifies him to try-out for the school’s football team, where, if college recruiters are any gauge, he’s a phenomenal success. But it’s not without a cost. Leigh Anne is ostracized from her social circle and when they steer the boy towards their alma mater, her and Sean’s motives come under scrutiny.
“The Blind Side” is based on Michael Lewis’ book, “Evolution of a Game,” which follows the true story of Baltimore Raven Michael Oher from his hopeless start at the Memphis Hurt Village housing project to his NFL draft. However, it’s less a football biopic than it is an inspirational message that merely giving thanks is not as fulfilling as demonstrating thanks by the way we lead our lives.
Shedding the characters she’s outgrown, Bullock shines as a genteel mannered southern wife who, when push comes to shove, can shove back just as hard (on one occasion barking acronyms at some project toughs, “I’m in a prayer group with the D.A. and I’m a member of the N.R.A.”). The supporting cast -- Jae Head, as the precious S.J., Tim McGraw, veteran Kathy Bates, even supporting actor Quinton Aaron -- only round-out the ensemble. This is all Sandra Bullock and by far, it’s the best film of her career, and arguably the best of year.
“The Blind Side” is more than a Thanksgiving film, it’s a Thanksgiving lesson.
Pass the gravy and pass me another tissue.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for one scene involving brief violence, drug and sexual references.
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