The Blind Side
Syrupy sports drama uplifts but glosses over deep issues.
Based on 68 reviews
Based on 227 reviews
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The Blind Side
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Blind Side is a formulaic but uplifting family sports drama based on the true story of football player Michael Oher. It centers on messages of empathy and inclusion, the benefits of perseverance and hard work, and the importance of family support. That said, it sometimes feels as if it glosses over many of the challenges that Oher and his "rescuer" (socialite Leigh Anne Tuohy, played by Sandra Bullock) must have faced when building their relationship. And while the movie alludes to the racial prejudice Michael dealt with (some scenes depict characters who are blatantly racist), it skirts the topic instead of truly tackling it. For example, many of the movie's Black characters -- including Michael's mom -- are portrayed as impoverished, drug addicted, or both, and Black men are seen as dangerous and threatening. Still, Oher's life story is inarguably encouraging. While language and sexual content are quite mild, you can expect a couple of brief violent scenes, references to drug use, social drinking, and words including "ass" and the "N" word.
heart-warming story with too many swear words for young kids
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What's the Story?
THE BLIND SIDE is about Michael Oher's (Quinton Aaron) life as a brawny-but-tender teen before becoming an All-American college football star and an offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens.While attending a Christian school in Memphis with no roof over his head or family to support him, Michael is befriended by S.J. and Collins Tuohy (Jae Head and Lily Collins), the children of wealthy decorator Leigh Anne (Sandra Bullock) and her fast-food franchise owner husband, Sean Tuohy (Tim McGraw). Leigh Anne makes it her mission to care for Michael, inviting him to live in the Tuohys' home and, later, become an official member of the family. A real future for Michael appears on the horizon in the form of football, a sport for which his build and protective instincts seem perfectly suited. But first he needs to get his grades up -- and his head in the game.
Is It Any Good?
Based on a book by journalist Michael Lewis chronicling the real Oher's experiences, this film manages to inspire despite its broad-strokes approach to characterization. Bullock's winning effort paves the way; her Leigh Anne disarms both Oher and audiences despite a sassiness that edges on caricature -- there's real vulnerability behind Leigh Anne's type-A facade. Aaron's take on Oher is a little bit more textbook, but when he smiles, you forget for a moment that he's playing a role and really imagine him as the young Oher, quiet and thoughtful but not lost.
Director John Lee Hancock could have explored the challenges that Leigh Anne and Michael faced as they tried to meld their divergent backgrounds with more complexity. Did Oher have any doubts? Was everyone at the school really that embracing? Instead, Hancock goes for the superficial. But The Blind Side has plenty of heart, something Hancock appears to have a knack for (he also helmed The Rookie, an even more heartwarming drama based on a real-life athlete). Still, he's in danger of too much sentimentality here -- that and condescension about racial prejudice and economic barriers. The result is a straightforward and entertaining film, if you can ignore, yes, its blind spots.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what motivates Leigh Anne to welcome Michael into her home in The Blind Side. Was it a purely selfless move? Why does she later say that he changed her life (and not the other way around)?
Why does Michael trust the Tuohys? What appeals to him about them? Does the movie adequately address the skepticism and prejudice that Michael and the Tuohys faced when they became a family?
How accurate do you think the movie is? Did the Tuohys "rescue" Michael, or did he change his own life? Why might filmmakers have changed certain parts of the story?
What are some problematic aspects about how wealthy vs. poor people are represented in the story?
- In theaters: November 20, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: March 23, 2010
- Cast: Quinton Aaron, Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw
- Director: John Lee Hancock
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Book Characters
- Character Strengths: Empathy, Perseverance
- Run time: 128 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: one scene involving brief violence, drug and sexual references
- Last updated: March 13, 2023
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