Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) knows little about family. Less about football. What the homeless teen knows are the streets and projects of Memphis. Well-to-do Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) knows little about his world. Yet when she and Michael meet, he's found a home. And the Tuohys have found something just as life-changing: a beloved new son and brother. This real-life story of family and of Michael's growth into a blue-chip football star will have you cheering with its mix of gridiron action and heartwarming emotion. Share the remarkable journey of the college All-American and first-round NFL draft pick who was a winner before he ever stepped onto the playing field.
The Blind Side
takes the true story of a young man who went from abandonment to success as a pro-football player and treats it with respect. The movie doesn't oversell what is, on the face of it, already compelling. It's almost impossible to describe the plot without sounding painfully inspirational: Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron, Be Kind Rewind
), a hulking but gentle African-American teen in Tennessee, gets taken in by a well-to-do white family; the mother, Leigh Anne Touhy (Sandra Bullock), pushes and mothers the boy, who eventually wins a football scholarship to the University of Mississippi. In the wrong hands, this could have been maudlin, manipulative, and condescending. To the credit of writer-director John Lee Hancock, adapting Michael Lewis's acclaimed book, the result is intelligent, genuine, and alternately funny and moving. Leigh Anne could easily have been grandstanding and virtuous, but Bullock doesn't shy away from her vain and domineering side. The football scenes will be gripping even to non-sports fans because they've been so successfully grounded in Michael's emotional life. The all-around solid cast includes country music star Tim McGraw, pint-sized Jae Head (Hancock
), and Kathy Bates as the tutor who guided Michael's academic success. Don't be surprised if you can't keep yourself from watching all the real-life photos of Michael, Leigh Anne, and the rest of the family that are featured in the credits; by the end of the movie, you will care about them all. --Bret Fetzer