Friday, November 20, 2009

'The Blind Side' Scores a Touchdown

OK, so we're two-for-two with movies this week. First, "Pirate Rock" scored nicely and now "The Blind Side" is everything the previews and publicity boys promised: a good story, told with heart, humor and without resorting to cheap tear jerking tricks.

It's the story of the Tuohy family of Memphis--a comfortably wealthy white Republican family--that virtually adopts an outsized African-American boy who is without a home and raises him (to become a pro football player). The story is ultimately a vehicle for Sandra Bullock, who carries it well as Leigh Anne Tuohy, the beautiful, tough, compassionate former Ole Miss cheerleader. She is the centerpiece of the family and she insists on bringing along Michael Oher and raising him with her son and daughter.

Director Michael Lee Hancock (who also wrote this from a portion of a book on recruiting) throws in some touching moments, but resists schmaltz and syrup, often resorting to humor in a movie with plenty of laughs and just enough tears to make it all feel real.

The recruiting scenes with all those Southeastern Conference coaches are fun for an SEC fan like me (Oher almost went to Tennessee, which makes me wonder if he might have saved Philip Fulmer's job). But at the heart, this is undeniably Sandra Bullock's movie. I've been thoroughly impressed with her as an actor since "Crash," but this is the SB we know and love: the bright, easy-to-watch, funny woman who can take over a light movie like this and leave you smiling as you leave the theater.

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