The Blind Side

The trailers for The Blind Side triggered my "oh geez, another sports-related Triumph of the Human Spirit" cynicism, and I might not have seen the film at all if I hadn't been assigned to review it. That would have been my loss, and I experienced the lovely surprise of having a movie turn out far more enjoyable than I expected. The Blind Side has no twists or gimmicks other than being a very good example of a sports-related family film, with quality performances and writing.

The movie's title is a football reference, which the voiceover of Leigh Anne Touhy (Sandra Bullock) explains at the beginning. Michael Oher (Quenton Aaron) is sweating out a tough but unspecified situation in an office, when we flash back a few years and meet him as Big Mike. An African-American staff member at a mostly white Christian private school is trying to get his athletic son into the school, and the school's coach also spots some athletic potential in Big Mike, granting him a scholarship. Big Mike has terrible trouble keeping up in school, and when his friend's family stops helping him out, he is virtually homeless -- sleeping in the school gym, eating popcorn left there after events, wearing the same thin clothes daily.