A funny thing happened when I went to see The Blind Side, aside from me not being as bothered by Sandra Bullock’s blond hair as I was when I saw All About Steve, that is — I didn’t cry. And I liked the movie more because of it.
Say what you want about the film’s “cotton candy-uplift” — EW critic Owen Gleiberman certainly did — but I think writer-director John Lee Hancock deserves some credit for showing some restraint. SPOILER ALERT: Unless I missed it, he never once had Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) say the words “thank you” to Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock). Michael’s appreciation for her taking him off the streets and into her home and family was simply implied, like when he said he already thought he was a part of the family when she told him they wanted to make it legal. Hancock could have shown Leigh Anne crying behind closed doors after Michael told her he’d never had a bed before, but he didn’t. (That, by the way, was one of the three times I almost teared up. The others being when Michael said he didn’t know the last time he saw his brother or where he was staying, and when he graduated.) Hancock also could have had Leigh Anne hug and kiss Michael for stopping the airbag from hitting SJ after their car accident, but instead, she simply used that action, along with her knowledge of his 98th percentile “protective instincts,” to get the new left tackle to see his quarterback and other teammates as family members that need to be shielded. And he could have had Michael say something more profound than that he needed a proper hug when he made Leigh Anne get out of the car when she tried to say a quick goodbye at Ole Miss.
In short: I found the film to be sweet, but not saccharine (even with the large helping of attention-seeking SJ, who tried and failed to replace Hayden Panettiere’s Remember the Titans’ character as my favorite child in an inspirational family-friendly football movie).
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Photo credit: Ralph Nelson