Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for her performance as Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side. After watching this film, the other nominees must have felt they had been robbed. Whilst there is nothing deficient in Bullock’s performance, there is nothing remarkable either.
The Blind Side is based on the real life story of the Tuohys, a white, middle class, republican family from Memphis who take in a poor black homeless teenager. With the help of Leigh Anne in particular, Michael Oher goes on to become a member of the family, and eventually wins a college football scholarship.
The main problem with The Blind Side is that it is so schmaltzy, it’s saccharine. A feel-good movie, there is nothing but positive portrayals of all the main characters. There does not seem to be any unease whatsoever by any of the family at the unusual situation, but perhaps in real life there wasn’t. More significantly, the film lacks the element of threat or danger that things might not turn out as planned; the happily ever after is guaranteed from the off.
Furthermore, there is little resistance to the Tuohy’s plans for Michael. Save for a few comments from a redneck, and some bigoted remarks from some of Leigh Anne’s friends, there is a distinct lack of struggle for the family. This absence of hardship is interspersed with what is intended to be witty observations about the situation, with Sean Tuohy commenting: “Who would’ve thought we’d have a black son before we met a democrat”.
The Blind Side is not a terrible film. However, it lacks the gravitas of more serious silver screen drama. Whilst the narrative is positive and uplifting, it is more at home with “true-life story” style of made-for-television films.