Newest Review: ... able to help him. He stays there the night on the couch, next day hes tidied up and he's off but Leigh Ann clocks this and chases after ... more
A movie thats both unoriginal yet poignant & thought provoking
The Blind Side (DVD)
Member Name: IzzyS
The Blind Side (DVD)
Advantages: Thought provoking, characters, good performances, nice length (doesn't drag on too much)
Disadvantages: Not entirely original, cheesy - If you don't like these sorts of movies then give this a miss .
- Cast/Credits -
- Story -
The Blind Side tells the story of Leigh Anne Tuohy who decides to adopt a down-and-out African American teenager who goes by the name of 'Big Mike'. Little is known about him and his grades are particularly poor as he finds it hard to learn but Leigh Anne is determined for him to do better for himself and become a part of their family - being that Leigh Anne's family are all skinny white people and 'Big Mike' is, as the name implies, rather large and of a different race, this doesn't go down well for some and so Mike has quite a big battle ahead of himself. What happens? you'll have to watch the movie to find out.
- More Info./Thoughts/Opinions -
This is far from an original movie, its yet another in a rather long line of movies about a down-and-out African American (or coloured person? whatever the correct term is nowadays) who is noticed by others who spot his athletic ability, or more potential but the question is, again, can he make it? yadda yadda. So yes, its not exactly covering new ground and the fact that the family who take him in are clearly upper class *ahemloadedahem* I find almost a little tacky - why would/should this not happen to a more regular family? of course its only those with money coming out of their ears that would want to 'take on' such a person(!).
However, the film itself, for what it is, ignoring the above, is pretty good. Personally, I'd describe the movie as being a mix of, say, films like Coach Carter or possibly Precious and Erin Brockovich, in terms of the mother (Leigh Anne, played by Sandra Bullock) /female figure who's determined to help him out as much as possible.
What is perhaps slightly different with this movie in comparison to others is that a moral question which is thrown in about half way to three quarters of the way through the movie, when Mike is taken aside and questioned by an attorney/lawyer with a view to ascertaining whether or not there's an ulterior motive behind his sudden adoption by a family such as the Tuohy's. After this, things take a slightly sinister turn and its clear that Leigh Anne thinks things over and has to look back at what happened with a different view.
Basically the question being posed is one of selflessness - was Mike 'taken off the street' so to speak (pardon the melodrama) for the families own gain if he were to play for the University team that had offered him a scholarship through the families own hard work to get them to become aware of him. Did Mike really want to become a football player on a longer term basis and was he being pushed or not? its not very easy to tell what he thinks, given his particularly shy and quiet personality - he barely shows any facial expressions and when Leigh Anne asks him about his past and his family life, he doesn't open up much at all, though as the movie continues and we learn more, it becomes pretty understandable why he's like that. I think its interesting the way that the movie makes the Tuohy's question their motives and also the reaction from Mike himself, it may make you see things from different points of view that you perhaps weren't expecting. At least you can't say that the movie is 100% clear cut and its good that there is this element added to it of doubt and that make the family question things plus the family side (in terms of Mikes mother and past family issues) which, while again far from original from a plot or movie side of things, it was still quite good, I felt. Also as much as the character of Mike could seem cold and uninteresting and there could be a lack of interest or even for harsh people care from the viewer, I found myself feeling more intrigued - both about his future and his past.
Of course it is a sad movie in parts and it makes you think but there are one or two light hearted moments in there as well - there's the tutor (played by Kathy Bates) that Leigh Anne hires to help Mike with his high school work as they try to increase his overall grading (I've forgotten what the precise term is, sorry) so that he may be able to study at college or university (although the father in the family, Sean, seems at one point to dismiss college stating, if I recall, some statistic that he'd heard which he felt made it clear that he'd drop out - personally it really winds me up when I hear people dismiss college - maybe its different in the US, I don't know exactly but why upper middle class people can often claim that you have to go to University and gain a degree to be successful in life annoys me - I never did and I'm not thick, right?! careful what you say - lol plus I never dropped out and it wasn't an easy ride to my two year diploma but anywhooo, this is going off track a little).
I liked how Mike interacted with the brother, S.J., who it seems was, in a way, quite excited about getting a new big (in more ways than one(!)) brother. It was nice to see how quickly he got used to him being around and like I say the way the two of them behaved or interacted in different scenes - it seemed at times like S.J. was becoming more than a brother and almost a second father to Mike as he gives him advice regarding strategies in football and one or two other things - I think Mike, who is, as I've previously said, rather hard to read, looks up to him, even though he's obviously smaller and probably a couple of years younger in age I think.
I liked that his voice becomes the narrative but not right away, only after we learn more about him, before he's questioned by the lawyer, the narrative being him reading out some of a paper he had written at school, in which he speaks his mind on the subject of courage (yes as in courage against adversity). Yes of course its cheesy but it is poignant too. I think this part of the movie signifies a turning point and again it makes you think - in a way it is quite a thought provoking movie.
Within the movie there's not only the question about motive and selflessness brought up but also the general issue of, of course, being overweight (or more the mix of being a different race to most others around and being particularly overweight, or obese). Mike is constantly referred to as 'Big Mike' for about the first half of the movie as Leigh Anne wasn't aware of his name and had to ask her daughter, Collins, what he's called on that fateful night when she decided to turn the car around and offer him a ride home but its only when Leigh Anne offers that if he wants her to know anything, if he'd please tell her more about him, to just let her know, that he finally speaks up and says that he doesn't like being called Big Mike. There's also a scene where Leigh Anne takes Mike shopping, claiming that she's going to teach him how to shop properly but she's shocked when he shows her the small selection of clothes that he has to choose from, from the clothes store in his neighbourhood (not hers). Now of course you can argue that there's an intended political message that's in movies such as this one where you could say that the movie is intended to make us think about how we look at larger, perhaps lower class people and thats, I suppose, fair enough, although if its too much of a 'pity me' message, I'm not sure I'd entirely go along with that and I don't know what other overweight people might think about that but this movie is based on a true story and I don't know that its entirely fair to say that the movie is only about someone with weight issues trying to overcome the odds and save the day (its not necessarily as simple as that). Its also sad to see the reaction that other school kids and even other football players have to him, which, inevitably, changes as he's noticed by football coaches/staff further up the chain and there's a bit of that sense of 'oh we knew he was great all along(!)' that going on, so I suppose there are the sub issues of both weight and mild bullying or more not feeling like you fit in at school, which are brought up in this movie, something which im sure alot of people could relate to on some level.
I liked the length of the movie, its not as long as, say, Erin Brockovich, I didn't feel that it was too drawn out and as much as it is at times cheesy and even somewhat predictable, it still felt very much like a well made movie, it didn't drag on too much and it wasn't as over the top as it perhaps could have been. I thought the characters were good and it was interesting to see the conversations between Leigh Anne and her husband Sean. I do wonder, thinking about it, why it tends to be the women who fight for such people as Mike - like in, again I'll say it, Erin Brockovich and other similar movies, its almost always the woman who takes the 'cause' and won't want to stop her campaign until things have changed. Of course I should point out that this movie is based on a true story, so clearly such things do happen! its good to know that women out there can be so driven and determined IMO!. We're reminded that this was at least based on a true story at the end of the movie where text and photos explain what happened with 'Big Mike' further down the road.
If your concerned that this movie is primarily about fitting in as an American football player and that there's alot of footage of the sport then don't let that put you off as it doesn't really take up much of the movie - there are a few scenes featuring football matches, indeed the title of the movie 'The Blind Side' refers to the players blind side that they always have while making a pass (the movie starts off by showing somebody watching a game and a narrative explaining the importance of one or two different players/positions within the sport) - generally though, it doesn't take up the majority of the movie and so I wouldn't say don't watch it because its partly about American football. Going back to thinking about the movie title, I suppose you could also say that it has a double meaning, not only is it in reference to the sport and the disadvantage it brings having a blind spot or blind side but also from the point of view of society, was Mike in that blind side, seen but not really thought of much by others beforehand - you could argue there's that slight double meaning at play there (whether you think thats clever or not, thats up to you).
Finally, there is, I should end this section by saying, a slight twist to the story at the end, which you'll probably be thankful for when it comes. I think thats about all I can say about this movie really, which is, I admit, a heck of a lot more than I thought I'd be able to say! Hope I didn't bore you too much lol.
- Would I Recommend It? -
Yes, I think I would recommend this, as much as its unoriginal and cheesy in parts, its definitely well made in other respects. There are one or two sub-plots, a twist or two which may take you by surprise and it is somewhat thought-provoking. I felt quite attached to the characters and I thought the cast gave good performances and the movie doesn't drag on excessively, so overall for the type of movie it is, its a good one. I can't quite bring myself to give it a full five star rating but I'm happy to give it a four star one - as long as this is 'your cup of tea' then definitely check it out.
Thank you for reading my review (even if you skim read it, I understand, its a bit long I know lol) and I hope you found it useful and thanks for any and all rates and comments. This review was originally posted on Ciao UK under the same name.
Summary: An Oscar winning movie that isn't perfect but is definitely worth seeing