Movie review: The Blind Side


I typically only “tweet” or “glue” movie reviews. For instance, as I was leaving the theater last night, I tweeted this: “Blind Side is awesome for those who love sports movies and Sandra Bullock’s legs.”

But I wanted to say a little bit more about the film, The Blind Side.

First, I didn’t expect much from the film. The great book on which it is based, Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, is by Michael Lewis, an author I believe is unique in his ability to weave a great yarn — especially if the story involves business or sports — and especially if the book involves both. And just like his book, Money Ball, Blind Side goes into a topic that people think they know a lot about (football) in a way that explains something fascinating that only a few people have ever explored deeply for a general audience (why the offensive left-tackle is the second most compensated position in the NFL).

The book was fascinating, in part, because Lewis had tremendous access to the Touhy family while the story was playing out because of a unique coincidence: Lewis attended high school in New Orleans with Sean Tuohy, the “father” played by Tim McGraw in the film. It’s an important fact that Lewis had such access because, frankly, had he not, there is no way you or I or the NCAA would buy the notion that the Touhy family — especially, the mom, Leigh Anne — would have taken in this kid, Michael — Big Mike — for any reason other than his sports potential. But the degree to which Lewis is “embedded” in the Touhy household — and the legitimacy he brings from his past reporting — convinces the reader that Leigh Anne is the real deal, as is the rest of the family.

I loved the book so much, I’ve given it to many people, recommended it to even more. Every member of my family has read it and my son memorized a portion of it for a high school “declamation” project.

So, feeling about the book that way, when I started seeing the previews, I was convinced the movie would suck. Here’s why: The trailer makes the movie seem like Sandra Bullock as a nouveau-riche southern Erin Brockovich out to save the world, one offensive tackle at a time. And frankly, that’s how lots of people will view the film — especially those who haven’t read the book or who aren’t Southern.

But I’ve read the book and Michael Lewis convinced me that Leigh Anne Tuohy is who she seems — and while not exactly Sandra Bullock or Erin Brokovich, Leigh Anne is, indeed, what we call in the South, “a character.” So here’s why I liked the movie: On its on (it’s a dramatization of the book, not a “re-telling” of it), the movie is a great yarn and a great “sports drama.” I love sports dramas, but as film, they rarely rank as great film (I can think of some exceptions, however) — and this one doesn’t either. But as a sports drama, it delivers. And as “a character,” Sandra Bullock is great as this fictionalized Leigh Anne Tuohy. Even if you are a University of Tennessee fan, you’re going to love her. (You’ll get the joke.)

One last thing: For people not from the South, it’s going to be hard to believe there are people like Leigh Anne Tuohy or her family who exist. But they do. I know them. They are why the South isn’t exactly what you think it is.

Bottom line: Don’t expect a great “film,” but if you want some “feel good,” this movie is a great date movie.