The fact that The Blind Side is a terrible movie must be approached gingerly.
After all, this is not only a Best Picture nominee (the most embarrassing one since American Beauty). It was also an enormous box-office hit with which thousands of good-hearted, well-intentioned Americans identified. And that’s the problem.
The Blind Side is a placating picture of infinite falseness (never mind that it’s based on a true story). An insulting treatise on poverty, Christianity and race, the movie suggests that the world’s problems could be solved if only rich white ladies wearing cross necklaces would pluck black kids from bad neighborhoods and bring them home as they would a pet.
The film is based on the experiences of Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, a wealthy, white Christian couple in Memphis, Tenn., who took in a homeless black teen named Michael Oher and nurtured him to an eventual career in the National Football League. That took immense courage and determination on the part of all of three, but The Blind Side makes their journey look incredibly easy. Instead of showing us their sacrifice, doubts and struggles, the movie concentrates on their easily achieved moments of heroism.
The result is a film full of false notes – the exact opposite of fellow Best Picture nominee Precious, which may have been fictional but nonetheless had an authentic sense of defeat and despair.
The Blind Side is clearly more interested in inspiration, and so Leigh Anne (Sandra Bullock) is presented as a lovable firecracker even when her behavior is overbearing at best. (When she barges into football practice and takes over for the coach, it’s played for comic relief). Sure, maybe it required this sort of abrasive drive to ensure Michael’s success, but why must the movie present her as flawless?
As for Michael (Quinton Aaron), he gives the Tuohys less trouble than a new puppy. Indeed, Aaron barely gets more lines of dialogue than would a family pet. Aside from a studying montage near the film’s end, we get little sense of Oher’s part in overcoming his past.
That’s because The Blind Side doesn’t really care about Oher – it cares about Leigh Anne’s sassiness and Bullock’s likely Oscar and the audience’s glazed smiles of self-satisfaction for watching and applauding such simplistic white nobility. I really don’t know of a way to say this gingerly – the whole thing made me sick.