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maryann johanson, ruining movies since 1997

The Blind Side (review)

“Is this some sort of white guilt thing?” one of Sandra Bullock’s (All About Steve) ladies-who-lunch friends asks her Tennessee socialite after she informally adopts a homeless black teen (Quinton Aaron). One or two other small nods to issues of race and class aside, this utterly unsurprising, unchallenging feel-good flick mostly ignores larger social concerns in telling its implausible tale of the wealthy white Tuohys of Memphis (Bullock’s husband is played by country singer Tim McGraw: Four Christmases) who groom their unlikely charge for pro football, whether he likes it or not. Sure, it’s based on the true story of NFL player Michael Oher, as documented in Michael Lewis’s book of the same name [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon U.K.], but there’s not a lot of drama — you know, the stuff that makes a movie, um, interesting — in how screenwriter and director John Lee Hancock (The Alamo) chose to adapt that story. (We know he knows how to do that: he made the far more complicated and far more satisfying baseball film The Rookie a few years back.) Uncomfortably, it also adds another layer of fantasy to the notion that pro sports is a good way out of a life of poverty, drugs, crime, and other horrors for young black men: here, not only is an extraordinary raw talent the likes of which few people have required, but so is the luck to stumble upon rich, generous benefactors. It’s lovely for the real Oher that he did luck out this way, and it’s lovely that the real Tuohys were so kind to a total stranger, but mostly what I’m left pondering is, What about all the other young black men in the same bad situation who aren’t so fortunate?


MPAA: rated PG-13 for one scene involving brief violence, drug and sexual references

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb | trailer
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