Well as you know, my reviews here are pretty much exclusive of older films. So with that in mind, here’s a film from 2009! Staring Quinton Aaron (Michael Oher) and Sandra Bullock (Leigh Anne Touhy) who won an Oscar for her leaden role in the film.
Based on a true story, the film follows the story of, big friendly and slow black giant from the projects in Memphis Tennessee. With little education in his life, does not know his father and his mom is a crack addict, life is not nice for Michael. By chance, he is given a a place at a Christian school by their football coach who sees Michael as their star defender.
Being a huge late teenager starting in a class with kids barely in their teens, life is at first hard for Michael at his new school. However little child, S.J Tuohysees the giant as a lost soul and make friends with the big guy. One wet, cold night, while making his way to the gym or as he knows it “home”, the child’s parents chance upon Michael and give him a roof for the night at their sizeable home.
One night turns into weeks and slowly but surely they build a bond between them and realise his talent for defending not only in football but in life itself. The key to his future though relies on him needing to graduate and so hires a private tutor (Kathy Bates), a role no doubt helped by that fact she was born in Tennessee.
At first though despite his size and protective nature, he does not do too well at football and his coach has no clue how to teach the giant bear how to play the game.
So in steps Leigh Anne and shows Michael what he needs to do in the only way he can relate to, from there on in football is his future.
He ends up being the the first draft pick for the NFL in 2009.
So that’s the basic outline and I have to say I love this film. I hate to use the term “feel good film”, because, well, in most cases it’s a film and people watch films as an escapism not as a guiding light.
But given that this is based (fairly strongly) on fact I can see this as a feel good film. Not that most can benefit from it and make a change for the better (that’s what I call a real “feel good film/documentary”); however it is a film that lifts the spirit and even shed a tear for sadness growing into joy.
As mentioned, Sandra Bullock won the leading actress for her role. I’m a HUGE Sandra fan, but she’s a very hard cause to fight for. Ever since Speed, much of her film career has been stinkers, but I can’t help but love her. However, in this she does play a blinder of a role, akin to Julia Roberts‘ role in Erin Brockovich though I think Julia did far better than Sandra.
There are big similarities, being a strong based-on-fact woman and a role vastly different from their norm. Both are incredibly good looking for their age, however Julia certainly pulls of the push-up bra better than Sandra does in this film (which must surely have been deliberate). But, and this is a big but, it was fantastic to see Sandra actually work for her money.
To see her in this role proves that she has been a wasted talent and I would assume she hasn’t had many roles like this given to her. I can only imagine she leapt at the chance to be in this film. Sadly it seems, it’s not been a case of a career revival and has been given more roles like this.
The big centre point in this film is the deep south of love, of God and with Christianity overcoming racism. At points the black card is played and is better dealt with in some scenes than others, but given that allegedly the real Tuohy’s applied a big part in this adaptation, time constraints played more than their part in this.
Credit has to go to the other members of the family who make this feel like a great household to depart of. Much credit has to go to Jae Head. His closeness to Michael looks and feel genuine as the whole family takes this stranger and make him instantly a part of the family. Their religion is never forced down are throats as actually Christianity per se, but having not read the book, this is possibly Hollywood glossing over a few aspects of the real events.
Overall I really liked this film, while it was obvious it was “Sandra’s time” at the Oscars she has not moved much from the rom-coms since, she played a great role as does Quinton in his. This makes for defending the Sandra Bullock Fan Club a harder cause to fight for. After the massive disappointment of Johnny English Reborn which was watched immediately preceding this, it was a great watch.
Reviewed by Invisiblekid