The Blind Side

Film, Comedy
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The Blind Side
It’s a true story: rich southern white folks take in a black teenager, then help him towards college football and a big-time NFL contract. In the right hands, this could be about simple kindness overcoming mutual suspicion and bridging social divides – a story questioning an America where it takes such charity to effect genuine social mobility. This is certainly not that movie. Instead it resembles one of those formatted TV ‘reality’ shows where the top-billed female personality uses her bossy ‘common sense’ to tame recalcitrant kiddies/ animals so their parents/owners can be proud of them.

Quite how Sandra Bullock deserved an Oscar for her one-note turn as bleached supermum Leigh-Anne is a mystery, since it transforms a potentially worthwhile character study into a grandstanding star vehicle. Her comic timing is just-so and she invests the homespun one-liners with a veneer of sincerity, but there’s no way this is a real person. It’s Sandra Bullock doing her thing.

On the other hand, Michael (Quinton Aaron), the troubled outcast to whom she gives a stable home –the rest of her family know better than to argue with Leigh-Anne – is hard to read, beyond ‘gentle giant’ cultural clichés. Meanwhile, director John Hancock shows us enough of the lad’s scary, hope-free ghetto background to tell us we don’t want to go there. He lends the proceedings a patina of class and a certain entertainment value, yet the whole approach (in marked contrast to, say, ‘Precious’) is about putting white middle-class compassion proudly centre-stage. A half-truth, a half-story, surely?

By: Trevor Johnston

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Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday March 26 2010
Duration: 128 mins

Cast and crew

Director: John Lee Hancock
Cast: Sandra Bullock
Quinton Aaron
Tim McGraw