The Blind Side (12A)
Friday 26 March 2010
Sandra Bullock was apparently a very good sport about picking up a Razzie for the worst performance of 2009 in All about Steve, and a few days later accepted her Best Actress Oscar for The Blind Side with equally becoming modesty.
While you wouldn't begrudge her the award for her performance as a real-life Memphis mother of two – there is an energy and fire in this combative matron – you have to wonder how anyone in the Academy could really be taken in by a film so utterly detached from the one thing it's meant to be rewarding: drama.
Bullock plays Leigh Anne Tuohy, an affluent Southern mum who out of the goodness of her Christian heart takes in an impoverished black teenager named Mike Oher (Quinton Aaron), makes him a part of her family and encourages him to fulfil his potential as an American football player. It's a remarkable true-life story, which the writer-director John Lee Hancock has distilled into Disney syrup: a forlorn outsider meets his fairy godmother and rises to greatness. Somehow we expect Leigh Anne's act of charity to ruffles a few feathers, yet her husband, son and daughter accept Mike in their home without a peep. One or two of her prissier lunch companions let themselves down, and she faces off a leering thug from Mike's ghetto past, but there is hardly a moment when Leigh Anne's force of will looks likely to be knocked off course.
Part of the problem lies in the characterisation of Mike, a shy, taciturn youth who's reluctant to talk about his awful upbringing (a dead father, a drug-addict mother who abandoned him), leaving a great big hole for Leigh Anne to fill with grace-at-dinner piety and a crushing self-righteousness. Not enough that she ticks off a beardy redneck who's barracking Mike two rows back at the ball game; she also invades football practice to deliver her personal brand of coaching to her gentle-giant protege, unlocking his protective instincts towards the team's quarterback ("think of him as me").
The only wrinkle of controversy comes at the end, when a tough-minded childcare bureaucrat raises the possibility that Mike's career choices may have been manipulated by his adoptive parents: does Leigh Anne have her own blind side, too? The doubt pops up, only to be dumped on its backside in the manner of Mike's monster tackles on his opponents. Phew – the five-minute tension is over. The Blind Side is plainly designed to make whole swathes of Americans feel good about themselves, and perhaps make everyone else ponder a selective act of charity few of us would be capable of. It is heartwarming; it is tender; it is remorselessly unexciting.
arts + entsThere were towering ideas, some scintillating performances and revelatory grooves... our writers pick out their personal highlights
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
elephant appealPrince William signs up for our charity appeal
peoplePrepare to be entranced by worms as the molecular biologist gets ready to give the Royal Institution science lectures
elephant appealSo says man jailed for cutting off dead elephant's tusks
booksWe examine the best titles for teens
voicesPeople moan that Christmas is too commercial, the spirit lost. But it is a time to over-indulge, and always has been, says DJ Taylor
scienceResearchers teach border collie to understand sentences using more than 1,000 words
booksA Christmas story in six parts
travelWill high-value tourism help the workshops of this Renaissance city?
food + drinkA trifle without custard? Surely not! Nonsense – and here’s three to finish your festive meal that prove it
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Arts & Ents blogs
Heavy rain and years of 'benign neglect' may have caused Apollo Theatre roof collapse
Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
Justin Bieber isn't retiring from music after all
Nymphomaniac, film review: 'Despite the surreal sex scenes this is a serious drama'
The publisher who played with fire: the battle for control of Larsson's £30m legacy
- 1 Top PR exec Justine Sacco under fire for sending racist tweet before flying to Africa
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 The publisher who played with fire: the battle for control of Larsson's £30m legacy
- 5 Police seize possessions of rough sleepers in crackdown on homelessness
- < Previous
- Next >