Title: The Blind Side
Screenwriter: John Lee Hancock
Director: John Lee Hancock
Release Date: November 20, 2009
Running Time: 126 minutes
Synopsis: Michael Oher, a homeless black teen, has drifted in and out of the school system for years. Then Leigh Anne Tuohy and her husband, Sean, take him in. The Tuohys eventually become Michael’s legal guardians, transforming both his life and theirs. Michael’s tremendous size and protective instincts make him a formidable force on the gridiron, and with help from his new family and devoted tutor, he realizes his potential as a student and football player.
I haven’t read Great Expectations, but I’m going to take a page from Miss Sue’s handbook and use the little I know about the book as my analogy for this part of my tale. Although not technically an orphan, Michael is basically a boy without a home and in search of the love only a family can provide. It is true that Michael finds this with the Tuohys, but the movie does a sloppy job of bringing the two parties together. See…the truth is Sean Tuohy’s love of sports, basketball in particular, brings Michael Oher into the Tuohy’s world. And it is true that Michael had the closest relationship with Leigh Anne, but she did not have these superpowers that gave Michael the ability to play football. And she definitely wasn’t rolling into the hood solo and going toe-to-toe with its notorious drug lord. Basically, we have a movie that takes the least interesting parts of the book and turns them into mincemeat…UGH!!
Wrong Side of the Tracks
I often have terrible reactions to these adaptations because the movies tend to get so much wrong, which means that it takes me forever to get through the movie. I often sigh loudly, pause the movie, and write down my thoughts. My boyfriend thinks it’s hilarious because nothing has happened from his point of view. The Blind Side movie might be special because every note I wrote was negative. What was happening on the screen displeased me that much. In honor of this hateful occasion, I will share my standouts:
Michael wasn’t inept when it came to sports. Every coach wanted him on their team. The basketball coach wanted him. The track and field coach wanted him. Obviously, the football coach wanted him. He was a visual learner, and he could watch someone do an action and repeat it at nearly the same level. Why is this movie making Michael appear that learning football is like learning a foreign language?
Leigh Anne Tuohy was not a football savant, and she was not the savior who let Coach Cotton (who was Coach Freeze in the book) know that Michael was meant to play left tackle. Thanks to all the hype from college coaches and some serious mind tricks from his assistant coaches, he was able to learn that although the left tackle isn’t all that important in high school, it’s essential in college and the NFL. Michael Oher was going to take Coach Cotton-Freeze to the top. The movie did show the coach’s conniving nature. He truly was “The Snake” and had no problems using this gift from heaven to upgrade himself to a more prestigious career.
I hated the role of Sean Tuohy as basically the “go along to get along” husband. He is a former basketball star for Ole Miss and plays the role of informal assistant coach for the basketball and football teams, and he is also one of Michael’s confidants when Michael gets into trouble. The movie gives the impression that only Leigh Anne, with the assistance of SJ, brought Michael out of his shell.
This is one of the movies I saw in the theaters when it was first released. I didn’t love the movie, but I wasn’t as annoyed by it. It came out when I lived in Baltimore, and everyone in the theater was happy to see a story about a player on the home team. Now, I am more awake and have tired of stories that uphold the white savior narrative trope. This book would have been better served as an ESPN 30 for 30.
The Final Grade
Burnt Popcorn: I have now watched this movie twice, and I am sure that is two times too many. If you enjoyed the book, then please just do a 180 and speed walk away from this movie. You can thank me later.
So…were you turned off by the “white savior” narrative? Did you recognize all the football coach cameos? Were you annoyed by Sandra Bullock’s accent? What’s your favorite 30 for 30? Let us know in the comments! |RL