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Review: The Blind Side

The Blind Side
11.20.2009
5 10

PLOT: The story of NFL offensive lineman Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), who, as a homeless teenager, was taken in by a wealthy Southern family, The Tuohy’s, headed by a fast food magnate (Tim McGraw), and his strong willed wife (Sandra Bullock). Through their encouragement, he was able to overcome his tragic childhood, and discover a knack for football.

REVIEW: THE BLIND SIDE is a good example of the type of slick, Oscar-bait films the big studios tend to release around this time of year. Its family friendly, aspires to be uplifting, and best of all is based on a true story.

Should be a great film, right?

Well, yes and no. I’m sure there are lots of folks out there that are going to go ape for this film but I’m not one of them.

My problem here is that this feels way too manipulative to be taken seriously. I’m sure the Tuohy’s were great people, and what they did for Oher was wonderful, and might make for a great film. However this isn’t it. Maybe, if the story didn’t feel so sugarcoated this film might be more effective. Alas, this is from the PATCH ADAMS School of film-making, where the audience can’t be trusted to make up their own minds about character motivation, and everyone has to be presented in strictly black and white terms, with no shades of grey.

In the lead, Quinton Aaron, puts in a nice turn as Oher but he’s so cuddly, and saint-like throughout that he never seemed like a real, three dimensional person. Surely, a guy that came from his troubled background might have a little angst but the film presents him as so perfect, that he comes off like a caricature. There’s also a truly bizarre scene tacked on towards the end of the film where he beats up some crack dealers selling drugs to his mother that seems like it came from another film. I mean, did we really need an obviously dreamed up scene where Oher, who up to now has been about as threatening as a teddy bear, lays a beat down on a room full of heavily armed crack dealers? I mean, an action beat- really? Is that what the film needed?

Bullock and McGraw don’t fare much better. There’s been lots of talk as how this is supposed to be Bullock’s ERIN BROCKOVICH, but that’s a lot of BS, as that film presented an honest look at a woman who, while strong, and good was three dimensional and had her faults. Here, Bullock as Tuohy is so perfect, and wonderful, that she doesn’t feel real. There’s also a whole bunch of laughable scenes tacked on where Leigh Anne, wearing super tight, sexy dresses (it must be said- Bullock looks great here) prances around the ghetto, and threatens drug dealers with them truly looking intimidated. I mean, c’mon is that really how a bunch of hardened, crack dealers would act if some rich woman were to talk down to them in front of their heavily armed crew? I’m sure these scenes look great in trailers but in a film that’s meant to be taken seriously, scenes like this don’t work at all.

Now, I don’t want it to seem like I’m panning Bullock’s performance. I’m not, she’s good in the film, as is McGraw but the whole film is so two-dimensional, that it feels completely sugar-coated and white-washed. I enjoyed director John Lee Hancock’s last inspirational sports film, THE ROOKIE, but here, they really could have made a wonderful film, if they hadn’t been so dead set on making something so charming an inoffensive, that they’ve ripped the grit and guts right out of the story. I’m sure that this will be a successful film, but will it be seen as a great one? I have my doubts…

RATING: 5.5/10

Source: JoBlo.com

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