**1/2 out of ****
What was supposed to be simply one of the many forgettable feel-good movies of the year has become one of the biggest hits of the year, thanks to the star power of Sandra Bullock and its moving story.
The Blind Side is the story of Michael Oher, a large black teenager with a violent past whom society has forgotten. He doesn't talk much, he has no home, no real education, and no true family. He wears the same shirt everyday and depends on the kindness of others to get by. After getting accepted to a nice private Christian school thanks to the pleadings of a desperate football coach, Michael is picked up off the street and brought to the home of the Tuohy (pronounced TOO-ee) family. The matriarch, Leigh Anne, is a tough, no-nonsense religious woman who never swears but is always fierce and demands respect from everyone around her. Michael is quickly accepted into this family. The image of a large black kid next to these small rich white folks inspires many laughs. Along the way, Michael improves his grades, goes out for the football team, and attempts to choose a college to go to on a football scholarship.
Since the story is so predictable, the film relies on strong performances from its lovable cast. Sandra Bullock leads the pack as Leigh Anne, taking on a slightly deglamorized part (and a convincing Southern accent) in order to play a real person. Newcomer Quinton Aaron plays Michael as a gentle giant, a very polite young man who despite his size, doesn't even know how to play football correctly. A nearly unrecognizable Tim McGraw also turns in a solid performance as the family patriarch Sean. Their two kids also win over the audience's hearts, especially the mischievous little tyke, S.J. Kathy Bates also shows up late in the film as Michael's tutor, and gives us one of the funniest scenes in the movie.
All in all, The Blind Side is just another inspirational sports drama. It's all about the love of family and football, and its emotional parts are about as subtle as a sledgehammer. While it's a very entertaining film, it's shallow and predictable, and most of its conflict is weighted towards the end. But, it's a big crowd-pleaser, which is all that really needs to be said for a movie that doesn't ask for you to think twice about it.
I would recommend this film to people who like football movies, Sandra Bullock, and people who like to go awwwww.
You can watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poKvUy0xYuE