The Blind Side Review
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Despite the fact that I live in a college town, where life revolves around Big Ten football, I couldn’t really care less about the sport. So I was relieved to find that this year’s big football drama, The Blind Side, isn’t just about football.

The Blind Side is actually more of a family drama. It the real-life story of Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), a Memphis teen who’s spent his life in foster homes and sleeping on friends’ couches. When he finds himself enrolled in Wingate Christian School, he feels completely out of place, but he keeps showing up—because he has nowhere else to go.

When Leigh Anne Touhy (Sandra Bullock) discovers that her daughter’s classmate doesn’t have a place to stay, she invites him in. His one-night stay soon becomes a long-term arrangement—and big, shy Michael becomes an unlikely member of the family.

  
 
Granted, in the beginning, The Blind Side gets lost in football analogies, as Bullock’s deliberate drawl narrates a less-than-fascinating story about the important role of the left tackle. But, for much of the film, football doesn’t even play into the story—and that’s a good thing. Instead, it focuses on the characters—like tough-as-nails Leigh Anne, who will stand up to anyone who dares to say a word about her family’s situation—or, especially, about her new son. It’s a surprisingly matronly role for romcom darling Bullock, but it’s a refreshing change of pace—and she’s a delight to watch as the spunky Southern spitfire.

Still, while Bullock gets top billing, Aaron is the film’s real star. He doesn’t say a whole lot, but his childlike innocence makes Michael a lovable character. You’ll understand why Leigh Anne is so attached to him—and why she feels the need to protect him. In fact, you’ll feel the same way—and you’ll actually care about what happens to him.

While The Blind Side is a touching family drama, though—with plenty of moments that were specifically designed to tug at your heartstrings—it also offers a healthy dose of comic relief. Bullock provides her fair share of laughs—but most of the humor comes from the Touhys’ precocious young son, S.J. (Jae Head). He’s absolutely hilarious—and his wisecracks and one-liners are perfectly placed to lighten things up at just the right moment.

Had that been the whole movie—just a rich white family taking in a homeless kid—it would have gotten my wholehearted approval. Because, although it’s a bit melodramatic and predictable, it’s a charming story nonetheless.

But, unfortunately, there’s more. Much more. Instead of making Michael’s football career just the icing on the sweet, fluffy cake, director John Lee Hancock turns it into a completely new story. And what could have (and should have) been a 90-minute family drama turns into a two-hour epic that drags through try-outs and games and tutoring and recruitment drama. While it’s there for a reason, it needed some serious editing—because, after a while, you’ll hardly care whether it ends happily; you’ll mostly just want it to end.

Of course, if you enjoy the same old football drama, those last 30 minutes or so might not frustrate you as much as they did me. Instead, you might be frustrated by the film’s relatively football-free first half. But although it’s about 30 minutes longer than necessary, The Blind Side is still a charming family drama—and an unexpected change of pace from the usual sports movie.

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