Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Blind Side

Do What You Do Best

Much of the hype in this film comes from Sandra Bullock's fine performance as Leigh Anne Tuohy, a God fearing rich woman who had chosen to adopt a kid off the street out of plain human compassion, offer him a home, school, even introduced him to football, and essentially turned his life around without ever wanting anything back in return. Incredible as it may sound, it's actually based on the true story of Michael Oher's life given a new lease to stay off the streets, and the opportunities extended to him as part of the Tuohy family, to turn him into the pro-footballer he is today.

And this heartwarming story reminds us that while it's easy to pay lip service to charitable organizations, or at times feel overwhelmed with the myriad of societal issues that need fixing, all it takes is that small step forward to spark a massive change for the better, especially when help comes from within and from an honest and sincere heart. We cannot change the world and cure it of all its ills, but it's the little things that we do within our capacity that will make the most difference and impact.

The story may not be something new, and you've probably watched countless of films with similar themes and the fusion of inspiration and sports. Moreover, some may feel that the rich characters here have within their means to extend help, but pay no heed to that, because just how many out there would find it compelling to do something like what the Tuohys did? And I kid you not when I say the marketing of the film tried to pass this off like a cliche rags to riches film where a character finds his true calling in American football or learn about values such as teamwork and group above self and so on. It's not exactly a sports or football movie, but one about compassion, change and the belief that with effort comes result for a fellow human being who had been tossed an unfair circumstance to cope with.

Sandra Bullock's come a long way from the days of driving a bus in Speed, to various average romantic flicks, and finally settling in a role that calls for plenty of gravitas, which she pulled off wonderfully. In Erin Brockovich style complete with blonde hair, Southern drawl and Maximizer bra, she plays Leigh Anne as the tough cookie who gets her way and never takes no for an answer, which explains how what may seem like a whim, turn and become something of a crusade in genuinely fighting a prejudiced system to get others to open up to Big Mike / Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) and get to engage with the quiet boy in more meaningful ways through out of the box techniques. I have never seen Sandra Bullock come close to playing any character like Leigh Anne, and this is indeed busting any preconceived glass ceiling that dramas are not her forte.

Quinton Aaron also provided that perfect pairing opposite Bullock as the lumbering giant with a heart of gold, knowing that his strength is not in the physical sense (not that he doesn't have that in abundance), but in his innate ability for ball games and protective intuition. He may be slow in learning, but he's not stupid, contrary to many especially his teachers who seem resigned to the fact that he cannot be taught subjects through the proper schooling channel. Aaron plays this role with plenty of sentimentalism and sensitivity, that it's extremely hard not to empathize, nor to feel for him when the chips are down or to cheer and root for him even when good things happen.

And the rest of the cast, especially Tim McGraw, Jae Head and Lily Collins all add a little sparkle as members of the Tuohy family (who owns a chain of fast food franchises) who because of Leigh Anne, all learn to accept and embrace Michael as one of their own. Kathy Bates round off the wonderful cast when she enters the picture in the final act as Miss Sue, Michael's personal tutor engaged to ensure he passes high school with a decent GPA needed to further his studies as well as the sport of choice.

The Blind Side will open up your eyes to a worthwhile "true life" story that you should be aware of, and be inspired from, and I'd say Sandra Bullock should be quite the shoo-in for the Golden Globe, and way overdue for an Oscar as well. Highly recommended as her performance alone is well worth the ticket price!

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