Friday, January 29, 2010

Must Watch This: The Blind Side

In our cynical world and hardened hearts all around, it was gratifying to watch a movie that lifts our senses. Its a feel good movie but never milks the audience for tears. What makes this so wonderful is its a true story. The other bit which makes it so enticing was that it was based on the book by my favourite author Michael Lewis - yes, the same guy who wrote Liar's Poker, Moneyball and The New New Thing.

Sandra Bullock was amazing in the dramatic role and should finally win the coveted Best Actress Oscar this year. Remember to wait for the credits as they will show photos and video snips from the real life family members of the characters. Quinton Aaron was spectacular too as he brought sensitivity and allowed us to empathise with his character.

The story was all the more amazing as it wasn't just Sandra's character that did the right and noble thing, but that all of her family members got on board as well - and that is not a common thing.

Its a very good movie when it not only entertains but it makes you think about our value system. What is charity, what is empathy, what one person can do to completely change the path and destiny of another, why so many of us only have good intentions but is cowered by what others might think .... Its a very very good movie.


Review From Inquirer: ADAPTED FROM MICHAEL Lewis’ 2006 true-to-life book “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game,” the film “The Blind Side” tells the extraordinary story of an impoverished young boy who is adopted and subsequently brought up by a wealthy couple to become a potential star in the National Football League. Although initially perceived as a rags-to-riches story, the film effectively positions itself as a heartfelt yet humorous drama, minus the common themes and elements found in most inspirational stories.

Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), a homeless African-American young man who comes from a broken home, is adopted by Leigh Anne (Sandra Bullock) and Sean Tuohy (Tim McGraw), a wealthy white family who helps him develop his true potential and character. Oher’s presence in the household leads to several self-realizations by the Tuohy family, including their two children, Collins (Lilly Collins) and Sean “SJ” Jr. (Jae Head).

At the same time, the teen, while living in his new environment as a student and football player, faces an entirely different set of challenges to overcome. With the help of his newfound family and teachers, he works hard to hurdle the obstacles in his life and become a professional offensive left-tackle.

Genuine, nontraditional

In many instances in the film, you may feel the story of an African-American boy being taken in and raised by a wealthy white family may seem too good to be true. But it is this reason—and the fact that character relationships in the movie center around a poor yet innocent young man—that makes the film more magical than the book. One of the factors that make the film special is that Oher, played by Quinton Aaron, is undeniably likeable. Aaron’s seemingly pure and innocent demeanor onscreen enables us to connect with him more in the film than in the book. His relationships with his new family and his genuine amazement at his new environment are believable.

Bullock as Leigh Anne, on the other hand, is able to effectively flesh out a role in which she strikes an amazing balance between a feisty iron maiden and a loving and compassionate mother to a complete stranger —all capped with a convincing accent. But in the film, Leigh Anne’s relationship with Oher goes beyond the premise of a white person rescuing a black man from poverty and despair, which viewers may also perceive.

Their chemistry and bond onscreen result in an authentic mother-and-child relationship which you can easily identify with. What’s truly unique about this film is that it has no clichés or traditional scenes usually found in inspirational and rags-to-riches stories. There is no true villain in the story as the main conflict is Oher’s struggle to overcome his weaknesses, and eventually succeed in life.

While loaded with drama as in the book, the film is genuinely funny, too. For instance, the sudden yet snappy quips of “SJ” are welcome breaks in between Leigh Anne’s emotional self-realizations. As a result, you do not tend to be completely drowned by its heavy drama.

Overall, “The Blind Side” is truly a film that strategically plays on your emotions and genuinely makes you feel good as the credits roll.

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