It will not come as any surprise to my very patient (and really quite sporty) American friends that I know as much about transatlantic sports as I do about the migratory paths of turtles. Actually, I probably know more about several species of turtle than I do about the endless ways in which Americans have altered sport with a ball. Therefore, it came as a shock to me when I decided on a whim to buy The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock.
There were several reasons for this – Sandra Bullock had won an Oscar for the role and I wanted to see if it was simply to make her feel better after All About Steve (a film I have yet to see). Also, I hadn’t bought a DVD in what felt like ages (it must have been at least three days and I felt like I owed myself some fun with my HMV award card). Actually, on reflection, those were the only two reasons. Nevertheless, I bought it and very late one night this week I even watched it.
I loved it.
I realise that The Blind Side is based on a true story but one of the reasons why I enjoyed it so much is that – at least to this Brit – it was the perfect American fairytale. If this had been fiction, I would have dismissed it out of hand as a feelgood sports movies. But the extraordinary generosity and warmth of Leigh Anne Touhy (Sandra Bullock) was nothing to do with sport – it was all about finding things in common with anyone and everyone. And there was nothing unnatural or forced in the actions of Leigh Anne’s husband and children. The acceptance of Michael Oher into their lives, home and hearts was unforced and natural.
Michael Oher says little – it’s as if he’s had the energy taken from him and he needs to find a way to get it back. But his actions speak louder than words – we see the hugs and smiles and mostly silent flashbacks of tragedy. But his protectiveness is as big as he is. And that shines though. Even for his coach.
There were lots of little treats in this film – Michael’s relationship with the little SJ and SJ’s influence on the college interviews; sister Collins’ acceptance of a new brother figure who could be intimidating; Kathy Bates as the (God forbid – Democrat) tutor who guides Michael through his education. But above it all is Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne. She isn’t emotional, she’s not soppy, she’s not missing something in her life. She has it all and has it all to give.
The film both upholds and challenges some of the sterotypical views that we Brits may have of the southern states but it also demonstrates that Sandra Bullock is as fine an actress as I always thought she would be. If not finer.
I still didn’t understand the football. But it didn’t matter. I think the goodies won.