The Blind Side has snuck its way into the holiday season, mostly due to the words "inspirational" and the phrase "true story". The best part about this movie is that it IS a true story. The worst part is they milk it for all it's worth.
In case you don't know what the story is, I'll recap. Michael Oher is a boy from inner-city Memphis, raised in the projects and passing his nights on friends couches, or whoever will have him, once he's taken from his mother's custody. He's a kind, gentle boy in the body of a football giant. Miraculously, well ok not miraculously, it's mostly because the football coach sees big dollar signs when he looks at "Big Mike", he get accepted at a Christian school. That's where the Touhys come in. They also have children enrolled at the school and eventually they take in the troubled teen. By the end it's all success and happiness and a beautiful NFL draft pick. The way they get you is showing the real-life photos over the end montage.
It's cliche in parts, it's genuinely moving in parts and it walks the fine line of eye-rolling and eye-dabbing. On the whole, it's not all that different from your average triumphant sports story, you could be watching Rudy or Miracle, but the performances are heartfelt and there is something about the ending that makes you think, "I'd like to help people in that way someday" (as long as they were actually helping and not just trying to help out their alma mater). I'm not certain that Sandra Bullock's performance is worth all the praise she's gotten now that the awards season has started, I personally prefer her in The Proposal, which she is curiously nominated for as well, but she's as good as she's always been, so if you're a Bullock fan, this is one to see.
I don't think anyone is going to go into this film not knowing what they're in for. If it's your cup of tea you should enjoy it. There's nothing in the way of the technicalities of film wrong with it. However, like many of the movies this year, the way race is dealt with is something of a dodgy issue here too, slightly condescending and a little patronizing. However, I'm not sure that can be blamed on the film, just the story. So if you're already looking for reasons to skip it, just skip it. There's no twist ending that will change your mind.
3.5 footballs out of 5