Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Blindside

** Please welcome Aaron as he provides a guest post for me on this great movie!

By now, if you haven’t heard of The Blindside, then you’ve probably been living in a cave for the past three months. Based on the real-life story of Leigh Anne Tuohy and Michael Oher, The Blindside has won significant acclaim – both for the film itself, and for star Sandra Bullock.

The plot of the film (and the book it was based on, and the real life-story) isn’t the most complicated. Michael is an outcast and an orphan, who is taken in by the Tuohy’s, and given a home. His great size and strength makes him a prize candidate for football, and the Tuohy’s encourage him to pursue this, even helping him raise his grades high enough that he can play. Then there is a moment of drama when it seems like they have been using him to get him to play for their alma matter, which ultimately is resolved with the message that family (which doesn’t necessarily mean the people you are blood related to) trumps all. And as most sports-drama films do, it ends with Oher being drafted in the NFL.

I’m not a huge sports fan, so I was mostly unfamiliar with the real-life story, but I have seen enough sports films to know how they typically end. A team, or a player, has a disadvantage (in this case, Oher’s impoverished upbringing and lack of education and family life), starts to overcome it – usually due to an inspiring coach or family member – has a brief relapse, and finally triumphs. So, there was little to surprise me while watching The Blindside.

I say that there was little to surprise me, and that’s true. But that’s not to say there were no surprises. And the biggest of these is the quality of the acting. By the time the video arrived, Bullock had already swept most of the major awards, so I expected her to be great – and she truly was. But what I didn’t expect were the quality performances from the rest of the cast. Quinton Aaron is superb playing Oher, and Tim McGraw does great work as Sean Tuohy, Leigh Anne’s husband. Also of note is Kathy Bates, who plays Oher’s tutor.


This disc is fairly light on the bonus features, with only a few deleted scenes. The Blu-Ray presentation includes several featurettes, including an interview with the real-life Oher, a head-to-head discussion between Sandra Bullock and Leigh Anne Tuohy, a discussion between director John Lee Hancock and author Michael Lewis, and a biography of Quinton Aaron. If you’re interested in these features, check out the Blu-Ray presentation instead. I wish that the studios were still in the habit of providing an extended or collector’s-edition DVD with the bonus features, but it seems like those of us without an HD player are going to slowly find our access to bonus features diminished.


While there is nothing amazing about the DVD presentation of The Blindside, the simple truth is that this is an amazing film, and one that is well worth seeing. It was obvious going in to Awards season that there was no way for the film to compete with the likes of Avatar and The Hurt Locker, but Bullock easily deserves every nomination and award she received, and the film more than deserved its’ nominations. If you have a Blu-ray player, skip the DVD for the Blu-Ray, but you owe it to yourself to – at the minimum – rent this movie. It’s a powerful and potent reminder of what family can mean and achieve.

Full Disclosure: A copy of this DVD was provided for review. No further compensation was received, and a positive review was neither promised nor expected.

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