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‘The Blind Side’ is not without its flaws

PHOTO PROVIDED The poster for “The Blind Side” is shown.

My fellow Throwback Thursday columnist isn’t the only one that can review sports themed movies! Although I’ll be honest it’s probably best that I don’t make this a running theme in the future.

I typically try to find a themed movie that matches the holiday that’s being celebrated. However Thanksgiving has proven a real challenge in that regard. So instead of reviewing a Thanksgiving themed movie I chose a feel good one instead.

“The Blind Side” was a box office hit when it premiered in 2009 and is a loosely based adaption of NFL offensive lineman Michael Oher’s upbringing from poverty to being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens. A pretty key component to Oher’s success was his adoption by the Tuohys, a wealthy southern family made up of Leigh Anne, Sean, Collins and SJ.

Quinton Aaron stars as Michael in the film opposite Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne. The film mostly focuses on the mother-son relationship the two form after Leigh Anne insists Michael stay with her family.

What starts as Leigh Anne performing her “Christian” duty changes quickly as she and her family develop a soft spot for Michael, seeing him less as some stranger and more as a member of their family.

Bullock of course delivers a powerful performance throughout the movie. From her spot on southern accent to the way she carries herself with such power and confidence. However, there’s a gentleness that she often has for Michael and her other children. She’s the perfect example of a Mama Bear — tough and protective but soft on her family.

Aaron also deserves kudos for his portrayal of Michael as well. Although Oher himself did take issue with how muted and somewhat slow they made him out to be (which is of course understandable), Aaron did take the direction he was given and utilize it well.

The quiet, gentle nature of Aaron’s character doesn’t go unnoticed as he makes his way through the film, slowly gaining confidence as he comes into his own by the end.

One issue I did take with the film was how it was told. At times it felt less like Michael’s story and more like Leigh Anne’s. Of course Bullock is a powerhouse so it’s no surprise she would shine the brightest but still. Had they developed Michael’s character a bit more and included bits of information such as him already understanding football from his childhood and more dialogue on his part I think it would have felt less one sided.

Overall the story does send a good message of found family and treating people not as a charity case but as human beings. It also touches on the tragedy some children face when growing up without a stable home and solid support system.

I still believe though the focus could have been on Michael more since the film was based on his life. Seeing his perspective and thoughts of going from a world of uncertainty to this new and intimidating one filled with people who took a lot for granted would have added to the movie.

Obviously this movie is still a great one, even with these errors, but I can understand why some would take issue with it. However, I still commend Bullock for her acting. I’m not the only one either considering she took home multiple awards for best actress for it.

And of course I love that they pulled together so many well known actors such as Kathy Bates as Michael’s tutor Ms. Sue, Tim McGraw as Sean Tuohy, Kim Dickens as Mrs. Boswell — the first teacher to actually see that Michael wasn’t dumb like others thought he was –and Ray McKinnon as his high school football coach.

“The Blind Side” is a feel good movie but of course its not without its flaws. That doesn’t make it an unwatchable film by a long shot. It just means that you need to go into it understand there’s more to Michael Oher’s story than what it’s telling you. I did use the term “loosely based” at the beginning of this review for a reason.

The film is rated PG-13 and can be rented from YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and Amazon Prime.

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Laura Jameson is a staff reporter for The Express.

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