Sandra Bullock has flirted with great performances all her career. Sure she has had many mainstream film hits from While You Were Sleeping to The Proposal and tried different genres in Premonition and Murder By Numbers. But for me Sandy took turn in 2004’s Crash. Her performance in that movie was a revelation. She was just so good, so electrifying and it was a complete transformation.
Sandy’s performance in The Blind Side is a similar revelation and carries on what she did in Crash. Her character is strong, fierce, devoted and opinionated. It could be the best performance of her career.
The Blind Side tells the true story of Michael Oher, a very large black kid who is just fighting to find himself in the world. His mom is addicted to drugs, his dad is dead and his relatives have given up on him. He is also on the verge of failing out of his school.
That all changes one night when a successful white family notices him walking on a road. Oher claims he is heading for the school’s gym but it is at night and the family knows it is closed. The matriarch of the family, Leigh Anne (Bullock) asks Oher if he has any place to sleep for the night. He doesn’t so out the kindness of her heart she takes him home and allows him to sleep on her couch.
It is hard for a lot of us to take a risk like that on a complete stranger but this family did and a relationship began. Leigh Anne finds out that Oher isn’t very smart (due to his struggle in the school system) but in his aptitude tests he scored a 98% in protective nature. So Leigh Anne uses that, she gets him a tutor and enrolls Oher in the school’s football program as a Left Tackle, who’s sole job is to protect the quarterback.
I was surprised with how much I enjoyed the Blind Side and Sandy in the starring role. The film hits all the marks it needs to and excels in showing us all a part of the human condition that Hollywood doesn’t often take a chance on.
The sentiment of the movie reminded me a lot of the TV series Friday Night Lights and how each and every week that show enthralls me without really trying. Both this film and that series are about characters, relationships and how we all bond as human beings.
I was also really impressed with the performance from country singer Tim McGraw who plays the subtle husband to Sandy’s overtly dominating wife. In other movies his character would have had a inferiority complex or feel threatened but this husband is supportive and loving. Like men have to be when they are in a relationship with a strong woman.
I have been surrounded by strong women all my life and I think that has helped me in life, why do other Hollywood films always have to make that seem so bad? We claim we live in an equal opportunity society. It is like commercials refusing to drop the illusion of the nuclear family and that women only clean.
I think that is another reason why this film works so well is because when Bullock’s matriarch takes charge people follow. And that is exactly how it is supposed to be. Leaders aren’t just white males!
The Blind Side is just one of those movies you have to see to believe. And it’s commentary on how society has changed is just one of it’s secrets.
4.5 out of 5
So Says the Soothsayer