An Inpirational Story Tempered by the Comedy of Sandra Bullock
Just in time for Thanksgiving comes "The Blind Side," an unabashedly inspirational story about a homeless black boy and the wealthy white family who took him in.
Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) was 16 when feisty Leigh Anne Touhy (Sandra Bullock) spotted him wandering, ill-clothed in the street of Memphis, Tennessee.
Leigh Anne is a woman who takes her Christian charity seriously. Without a second thought she asks "Big Mike" if he'd like to come home with her family.
Big Mike is a student at Wingate Christian School as a charity case. Little S.J. (Jae Head), Leigh Anne's 10-year-old son, becomes Mike's best buddy and defender.
With an irrefuteable fan's logic, Leigh Anne's mild-mannered husband Sean (Tim McGraw) figures the huge, 300-pound Mike would be a natural for football.
There are two immediate problems: Mike's IQ has been measured at only 80 and he has been doing poorly in school.
That can be remedied with a little help from a tutor, Miss Sue (Katy Bates).
A larger obstacle is the fact Mike is not combative by nature. He would rather be called Michael than Big Mike, and his favorite book is "Ferdinand the Bull."
Leigh Anne is the kind of woman who has never met a challenge she can't overcome, be it Michael's passive nature, his violent, threatening former friends, her veiled racist friends or his drug-ravaged mother (Adriane Lenox).
Though it is ostensibly about Michael Oher's miraculous rise from homeless, aimless boy to sought-after college football star, this really is Sandra Bullock's movie.
If Sandra Bullock weren't doggone appealing, her Leigh Anne would be insufferable.
But Bullock makes her brash, pious, goody-two shoes character so funny and subtly sexy that she never seems like a prig.
I'm not a football fan, but I'm guessing fans of the game will get a kick out of seeing the parade of real-life college coaches playing themselves, as well as the real Michael Oher, who is a rookie right tackle on the 2009 Baltimore Ravens team. As improbable as it seems, this is a true story, and it comes at a time when we all could use some good news.