18 November 2009 | cokiwa
Another inspirational sport film
I saw this last night at a screening and found it to be a very inspiring movie. I love sports movies as well as movies based on true stories, so this film hit multiple buttons for me personally, but reactions of others leaving the theater seemed equally positive.
As with any sports movie, you must have an underdog to cheer for, and Michael Oher is that underdog. Having been removed by CPS from his crack-addicted mother's home as a child and bounced from foster home to foster home, Oher has been staying on a friend's couch. He is reluctantly accepted to a private school when the football coach sees potential in him and pressures the school's admissions board to give him a chance.
Unfortunately, being an undereducated black youth in a predominantly white private school doesn't magically turn his life around, and in addition to struggling to understand his classes, he finds himself sleeping in an all night laundromat after the stay at the friend's house ends. While walking on a cold, rainy night , Oher is offered a ride and then a place to sleep for the night by the Leigh Anne Tuohy, whose children attend the same school Michael does. It's this single act of kindness that begins a chain of events that will change this underdog's life, eventually resulting in his being a top 2009 NFL draft pick and signing with the Baltimore Ravens.
The actors brought plenty of life to the characters they were playing. It was a pleasure to watch Tim McGraw as Sean Tuohy, making a somewhat minor character in the film memorable. Sandra Bullock's portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy was fascinating--I'd really love to meet Mrs. Tuohy in person. Jae Head as SJ became my favorite character in the movie, practically stealing the show as it were. Quinton Aaron's portrayal of Oher leans heavily to the strong, silent type, but there is a quiet grace and gentleness that comes through.
Obviously, nothing is quite as slick and clean as Hollywood plays it in movies like this, and there were issues and controversies surrounding the Tuohy family and the assistance they offered Michael Oher. Some of it is depicted in the movie, though not all, and there are many who will decry this film for that. It's a given that there is more to a story than what you see on the screen...condensing years into a two hour presentation requires some compromise...and it is meant to be entertainment after all.
I only had a couple criticisms. One, at 126 minutes, the movie was a little too long. I think 8-10 minutes of editing would have really tightened it up and eliminated a couple slower moments. Second, Sandra Bullock's accent seemed a little too forced at times. And finally, what happened to Steve Hamilton, the boy whose family Michael was staying with when he started attending Briarwood? Once introduced as his father pressures the coach for scholarships for Steve and Michael, he disappears from the movie. Minor issues that didn't keep this from being an extremely enjoyable movie, but did help keep it from being a perfect 10.