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6 Degrees Entertainment

'The Blind Side'
(Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, et al / DVD / PG-13 / (2009) 2010 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: 'The Blind Side' takes the true story of a young man who went from abandonment to success as a pro-football player and treats it with respect.

DVD Verdict: 'The Blind Side' has been nominated for 2 Academy Awards, for Best Actress, and Best Picture ... and although it was never going to beat 'The Hurt Locker' in the latter category, Sandra Bullock pulled a rabbit out of the hat to win her own solo category - and in style, according to all whispers!

Opening with the infamous injury of NFL quarterback Joe Theisman by Lawrence Taylor, the film centers on the importance of protecting the quarterback's `blind side', and hence the position of left tackle has become vital to a football team's success. This true story recounts the beginnings of tackle Michael Oher who was eventually drafted by the Baltimore Ravens.

Coming from a broken family, Oher enters a predominantly white high school. Quiet and introverted, he does poorly in his classes and performs marginally in athletic sports. Befriended by a younger boy, S. J. Tuohy, Michael (Quinton Aaron), by circumstance, endears himself to the wealthy Tuohy family, led by strong-willed mom, Leigh Anne (Bullock). She offers the homeless boy a place to sleep for the night which turns out to be a mansion of a home, and in time, a trust and bond develops as he is adopted by this surrogate family.

Leigh Anne makes the young man her project so to speak and grows to love him as her own despite his abusive childhood which includes his biological mother who can barely survive on her own and his friends from the 'hood who border on criminals.

Encouraged by his `family' and the school faculty, Michael improves his grades and play on the football field. He opens up and is befriended by more schoolmates. Because his sense of family is so important to him, he takes his protective instincts to a new level, and it carries over to football with spectacular results. Before long, marquee college coaches descend on Memphis and attempt to recruit the gentle giant.

To help get his grades get up to par, the family hires a tutor, Miss Sue (Kathy Bates in an all too brief role). When an official from the NCAA interviews Michael about any conflict of interest (since the Tuohys are avid Ole Miss Alumni) with the University of Mississippi, Michael is at a crossroads in his career and relationship with the Tuohy family.

There are moments to savor such as Thanksgiving in the Tuohy household and how the family rallies around Michael. And of course, the famous scene where Leigh Anne coaches Michael to protect his quarterback as if he were family is amusing. When she delves into his neighborhood, she gets a heavy dose of living on the other side of the tracks, and a scene where a local gang confronts her and gets more than they expected is a standout.

It is a stark contrast to her comfortable lifestyle and her judgmental friends. The college recruitment scenes are amusing and lend an air of authenticity by showing real life coaching legends like Nick Saban and Lou Holtz. What is refreshing is how Michael is befriended by S. J. and later, his sister, Collins. Having children making positive, life affirming choices for the welfare of others is a rare depiction in film.

Director John Lee Hancock (The Rookie) deserves credit for weaving a good script based on Michael Lewis' book into a pretty good film with a strong cast. The Tuohy kids are well played by Jae Head and Lily Collins, and singer Tim McGraw is quite good as Leigh Anne's supportive husband Sean. But this is most definitely Bullock's show, and her energy is infectious and carries the film through sheer will. It's the kind of performance that gets awards - as we now full-well know!

This film is a real crowd pleaser and easily watchable for most family members, not an easy trick - do stay for the end credits to see snapshots of the real life Tuohy family! Yes, the narrative is very straightforward and plays with facts in places, but the spirit of a family and its matriarch who would not let one of her own fail cannot help but touch and inspire. [C.T.] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with Special Features of:

Additional Scenes

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