THE BLIND SIDE (2009) ***** movie review by COOP

Posted on November 23rd, 2009
Posted on November 23rd, 2009

I’ll wager movie theaters in Mississippi and parts of Tennessee are selling out screenings of this movie all opening weekend.  Ole Miss fans and South Eastern Conference followers have watched the exceptional football career of Michael Oher and have been touched by his inspiring life story.  Those same fans (myself included) have eagerly awaited the release of this film.  I had a feeling I’d enjoy the movie regardless of its merits.  To my shock, I was completely blown away.  “The Blind Side” is indeed THE feel-good movie of the year.

Based on a true-life story, large and good-hearted African American teen Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) lives a solitary life of poverty and hopelessness on the streets of Memphis.  A twist of fate gets him into a private Christian school despite his poor scores and lack of parental guidance.  A young S.J. Tuohy (Jae Head) befriends the gentle giant, bringing him to the attention of S.J.’s father, Sean (Tim McGraw) and headstrong mother Leigh Anne (Sandra Bullock).  Leigh Anne takes a special interest in Michael and invites him into their home and eventually, her family.  With the help of a loving tutor (Kathy Bates) and the support of his new family, Michael defies the odds to become a college graduate, an All American football star and an inspiration to others. 

Director John Lee Hancock holds the uplifting tone from beginning to end, shying away from the more uncomfortable elements of the story in order to keep it from turning into a heavy-handed moral lecture.  Some could argue that makes it manipulative, but this story deserves all of the positivity Hancock can muster. He manages to sustain that positive feel throughout without diving headfirst into sappy melodrama like so many similar films.  In fact, it’s as funny as it is uplifting thanks to some clever writing and top notch performances. 

And the performances make the film.  Bullock delivers a career-defining turn as the willful and stubborn Leigh Anne.  Depending on the competition this year, I do believe we will be hearing her name when Academy Awards season kicks off.  Country music star Tim McGraw once again proves his acting talent with his portrayal of good-guy Sean.  Kathy Bates gets a short but very memorable role as Miss Sue, Michael’s wacky tutor.  Her sneaky way of convincing Michael to go to Ole Miss had to be one of the funniest comedic scenes of the film.  Quinton Aaron does Oher justice with his emotionally stirring performance.  He can turn on the “sad eyes” look so convincingly that it warms your heart when he manages a slight smile. 

For University of Mississippi (or even SEC) fans, there’s added bonuses and in-jokes that give “The Blind Side” extra appeal.  Everything from watching the real-life SEC football coaches act their own parts to jokes about U of Tennessee’s school colors will satisfy even the most cynical Ole Miss Rebel. 

Southerners (especially Mississippians) usually cringe when they hear about a movie that takes place in our fair state.  Before the 1990’s, they often harped on negative race relations, usually painting the state in the worst light imaginable.  I find it encouraging that Hollywood has found it more productive to show a less stereotypical version – and in this case, factual – example of Southern humanity and values.  While the 50 year-old stigma of “Mississippi Burning” is far from gone, the current cinematic examples suggest a far more constructive direction.

The real Oher with the Tuohys

The real Oher with the Tuohys

The film does address the ugly insinuation by critics that the Tuohys took advantage of Michael to further the interests of their alma mater, but the film handles the matter with obvious logic.  The family would not have made the decisions they ultimately made to bring him into the family if they had not loved the kid, which they unquestionably did…  Something not even a cynical NCAA investigator could deny. 

Warts and all, the film nails sports films in a way most don’t.  The heart in “The Blind Side” rings true and it gets an admirable boost from the acting, humor and attention to detail that most “sports films” can’t or won’t bother with.   

Put this high on your list of holiday viewing, be you a fair-weather football fan or an average Joe/Jane looking for a box office time waster.  You can’t go wrong with this one, and I suspect many sports films will take cues from all the details this modest film got right.

Take the family and see it more than once.  “The Blind Side” has what you’re looking for and then some. 

Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

Tear-jerking trailer below..


More great articles…

  • I’ve been saying it all along… Romantic Comedies are screwing up our love lives! by COOP
  • A Movie/Film Review Lesson Plan for Teachers! by COOP
  • BLEEDIN’ WICKED GOOGLY… Films about 35 of those “Other” Sports (Parts 1 – 7) by JAY
  • “Bard None: A Cinematic Guide to Really Bad Shakespeare” by JAY
  • Not a Xenu’s chance in hell… Travolta + Cruise does NOT = BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID!!! by JAY
  • Dex Romweber and the TWO HEADED COW… definitely the most bizarre documentary screening/concert I’ve ever seen! by COOP
  • Top 10 Scariest Horror Scenes by COOP
  • Top 10 Greatest Halloween Villains by COOP
  • DARK SIDE announces the BEST MOVIE VILLAIN of 2008… Who will claim 2009? **UPDATED**
  • DARK SIDE announces the BEST MOVIE VILLAIN of 2007… Who will claim 2009?
  • THE DARK SIDE CRITIC stars in his own horror short!!!
  • Porky’s Revenge: Swine Flu and the Virus in Film… by JAY
  • Top 10 Greatest Movie Titles Ever!
  • Top 11 Baddest Killer Robots!
  • Ten Movies Designed to Offend Your Religion (Part 1)
  • Ten Movies Designed to Offend Your Religion (Part 2)
  • Why Manly-Men Love Action Flick Chicks
  • Action Flick Chick’s Zombie Survival Guide for a Small Town
  • Bookmark and Share


    1. Ferry Rose- Fatima

      What do you think? I’d really enjoy my day when i watched this movie. i hope o see you in personal Big Michael.

    2. Ferry Rose- Fatima

      What do you think? I’d really enjoy my day when i watched this movie. i hope to see you in personal Big Michael.

    3. Susu

      I’ve been reading lot of horrible comments that are based solely on the issues surrounding the movie rather than the movie itself. I wasn’t excited to see this movie, I’m not interested in sports at all. The movie kept my attention though and well. It moved along quickly and pulled me into the story and left me feeling inspired. I wasn’t excited to see a blonde sandy bullock in a sports movie, I think that’s what might have turned me off the most, but she did really good job! It’s rare to see a movie where there’s a really strong lead female character. Whether you like Leigh Anne Touhy or not in the end, she is certainly entertaining and Sandra Bullock does a great job of bringing her onto the screen. The youngest son did an amazing job! So much talent in him. The character of Mike I think could have used a few more lines, even if he’s supposed to be shy and reserved. All the actors really did a great job though for the most part. No it’s not an epic Oscar winning film, although I wouldn’t be surprised if Bullock got nominated for something for her acting. It is NOT loaded with propaganda as the other reviews might suggest. It’s a light entertaining pick me up film that would be an excellent choice to bring the family to, most likely the reason why they released it over the Holidays.

    Leave a Comment...

    Search Form
    Trailer for the award-winning short PRISMA…

    A corporate promotional VHS tape from 1984 conceals a brain-altering signal which is said to grant increased health, longevity and psychic powers to those who watch it. View at your own risk...

    WINNER: SPECIAL JURY PRIZE, 2017 Oxford Film Festival

    WINNER: BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

    SEMI-FINALIST: 2017 NanoCon International Science-Fiction Film Festival

    NOMINEE: BEST ANIMATION, 2017 End of Days Film Festival

    NOMINEE: BEST GRAPHICS, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

    2017 Crossroads Film Festival
    2017 Clarksdale Film Festival
    2017 Twisted Dreams Film Festival
    2017 Tupelo Film Festival
    2017 NanoCon International Sci-Fi Film Festival
    2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival
    2017 End of Days Film Festival

    Trailer for the lost short GOD MAKER…

    Northern Mississippi 1932:
    In a cabin in the woods, a blind blues guitarist will discover his destiny from a lovesick goddess who seeks to corrupt his soul.

    GOD MAKER remains unfinished and in limbo for now, but the trailer expresses the mood and imagery intended for the project...

    Coop’s award-winning 48 hour short film trailer for REGRESS…

    Told in reverse, this experimental made-in-48-hours film begins with a shocking murder then backtracks (like a viewer rewinding a VHS tape) to reveal the chilling origins of this tragedy.

    WINNER: BEST SHORT FILM at the 2013 Clarksdale Film Festival...
    NOMINATED: BEST DIRECTING by the 2012 48hr. Guerrilla Film Challenge (international contest)...
    OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Crossroads Film Festival

    Watch Coop’s award-winning short film THE BEST DAY…

    WINNER: 2012 MAGNOLIA FILM FESTIVAL "Best Homegrown Film"

    2012 OTHERFEST

    Morgan Freeman asks Coop a question at THE BEST DAY premiere! Video below…

    My short film THE BEST DAY premiered in October 2011 at the Delta Cinema in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

    Little did I know I had a special guest in the audience who was about to ask me a question during the Q&A. Yep, I got a little flustered when I saw who it was.

    The Small Town Critic’s SCREENWRITING SERVICES
    Follow Coop on Twitter...
      follow me on twitter
      Follow smalltowncritic on Twitter
      Subscribe via Email!

      Enter your email address:

      Delivered by FeedBurner

      Subscribe via RSS feed!