CATEGORIES Reviews"I would like to thank what this film was about for me, which are the mums that take care of the babies and the children no matter where they come from." So said Sandra Bullock recently in her Oscar acceptance speech after nabbing the Best Actress award.
Now, finally, UK audiences get a chance to see if she deserved the honour as her feel-good movie, The Blind Side, makes its way into cinemas. Find out now what we thought of it... The Blind Side (12A)
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Quinton Aaron, Tim McGraw, Jae Head, Lily Collins, Kathy Bates
Director: John Lee Hancock
Running time: 128 minutes
Trailer: Watch it here
In a nutshell: Sandra Bullock earned her first ever Oscar nomination (and win), playing the real-life privileged white woman who adopted a homeless black teen, helping him on his way to a career as an American Football pro. Leigh Anne Tuohy (Bullock) is driving home with her husband and two kids when she spots their older schoolmate Michael Oher (Aaron) shivering by the roadside. Soon, he's a permanent part of their family. He's got the physicality and defensive instincts to make a robust lineman, but he'll only be allowed to play for the school team if his grades improve dramatically. Meanwhile, Michael still hasn't given up on his drug-addict birth mother.
What's good about it? This modest inspirational family drama really caught the popular imagination in the US, where it grossed an astonishing $250million at cinemas. The awards buzz for Bullock's performance helped, but mostly audiences were responding to a true story that projected an idealised, feel-good vision of a caring America. It helped that Bullock's reliable charm helped turn a potentially divisive character – Leigh Anne is a bossy Republican Christian – into a woman everyone would root for.
What's not so good? There's nothing wrong with Quinton Aaron's performance, but the film's representation of "Big Mike" as a generic gentle giant, and as more passive/reactive than active, shortchanges the character. Even the Tuohys' own son, feisty young SJ (a well-cast Jae Head), who forms a touching bond with his new big brother, gets more opportunities to make a vivid impression.
Verdict: Sentimental, blatantly manipulative and brim full of heartland American family values, The Blind Side is an easy target for critics, especially in Europe. But anyone willing to leave their cynicism at the door and submit to the film's skilful emotional orchestration will be glad they did so. Resistance is futile... or, at least, wildly counter-productive.
Rating: 7 out of 10.