by Erin Dwyer
Sometimes, the movie going public does not need to think about their cinematic experience. Instead, craving an emotional release, they want to laugh, cry, and root for the underdog team, which sums up “The Blind Side”, showing at Cheap Seats this weekend.
The film, based off the true story of Michael Oher, offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens, details and recounts the struggles of his youth and how he emerged from disadvantaged origins to become a player for the NFL.
Starring Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw and Kathy Bates, the movie focuses on the close relationship between Bullock’s character, Leigh Anne Tuohy, and her adopted son, Michael, played by promising newcomer Quinton Aaron.
Promoted as a football movie akin to “Remember the Titans” and “Friday Night Lights,” the film is more concentrated on the family dynamic between mother and son rather than Michael’s football career, which works in it’s favor. The cast, especially Bullock, deliver thoughtful performances, reeling the spectators in with Southern hospitality and sympathy for their challenges. There are many adorable, tear-jerking scenes provided by Bullock and Aaron, especially the one displaying Micheal bench pressing his adopted little brother and closest friend. While the screenplay breaks no new ground with its somewhat clichéd plot, the selling point of “The Blind Side” is its ability to take material that could have been trite and melodramatic and instead create compelling characters that really connect with the audience.
Sentimentality aside, the film also reinforces every stereotype in the book. There is something queasy about the white, upper class folks rescuing the poor African American from the ghetto. Race is not explored with the depth required to make this a great film. Furthermore, the simple plot slows under the extensive two hour running time. However, “The Blind Side” never pretends to be more than it is, which is a family-oriented heartwarming story, without challenging norms or making overwhelming statements on the human condition. By borrowing old material, but executing it nearly perfect, it will leave viewers with smiles and optimistic, feel-good attitudes, reaching and surpassing the modest goals of a sports movie.