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THE BLIND SIDE, 2009
Movie Review

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THETHE BLIND SIDE, 2009
Movie Reviews

Directed by John Lee Hancock
Starring: Quinton Aaron, Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Kim Dickens, Lily Collins, Rhoda Griffis, Quinton Aaron, Ray McKinnon, Kathy Bates
Review by Matthew Toffolo


SYNOPSIS:

A disadvantaged teenager is taken in by a conservative family who see tremendous promise in the young man. Despite certain obstacles, the attention and inspiration he receives helps him mature into an athletically and academically successful NFL prospect.

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REVIEW:

It has taken me awhile to write this review after seeing it because it got to me so emotionally. The Blind Side is the type of movie I had a soft spot for because I think there should be more films like this. Someone is in the need of love + someone has love to give = what life is all about to me.

I admit that I did cry during this film and I tried my hardest to not do so because of the person I went to the pre-screening with. She just started working on this site with us and I didn't want my tough guy boss image to be damaged. But I just couldn't help myself. The Blind Side got to me and the tears couldn't be helped.

Another factor is that I am a big football fan plus read Michael Lewis' book based on the film, so I knew this remarkable story very well. I loved the book so much I was very happy to see it made into a movie because I hoped it would let many more people know this story. So this film already had me before I saw it.

I couldn't write the review immediately after watching it as I usually do because I was too emotionally involved. There wouldn't of been any context with what I had to say because it would of all come from an emotional level. Yes, the name of the game when telling stories is to get the viewer emotionally involved, but there is a limit. I loved this story too much for me to really have anything but a bias opinion to say.

So I let this film stay with my for awhile. Had it sink into my psyche to see how long it stayed with me. Was this really as good of a film as I thought it was? Or am I too much of a fan to really make an honest opinion?

I have to say that now after two weeks seeing The Blind Side, I think this is a movie everyone should see but it's also a forgotten film that won't be remembered for very long. There just isn't enough in the story and execution for us to really love this movie and put it on the pedestal as a great film. There are a lot of emotionally engaging moments, but I think the film tried to give us two movies from two points of view instead of just one story with one point of view.

There are two main characters in The Blind Side where they tell the stories from their point of view. Rarely does this work because an audience really only wants to see one world. Yes, there can be more than one main character in a movie, but the story must be told from just one emotional journey. We meet someone in the beginning and follow them on their path to the finale. The Blind Side tries to give us two of those stories. Michael Oher, the homeless teenager who will become an NFL first round draft pick 6 years later. And Leigh Anne Touhy, the Memphis upper-middle class type-A mother who takes Michael in and helps him become the man he's capable of being. Both stories are rich in texture, but they must only give us one.

It's a theme in Hollywood these days to give us movies with too much going on. They are spending so much money so they try to give us two films in one. Is there any reason why films of 2009 like Transformers 2, GI JOE and 2010 are over two and a half hours in length? When did this theme begin and when are they going to stop? If there is one thing I learned personally with the WILDsound events is that you must always end things with people wanting more. It's a fine art of giving entertainment to people and them feeling that they didn't get enough for their buck or they get bored or tired because is was too long. You want to hit it exactly and when you do you get magic.

The Blind Side's length is proper for this story but because they are telling us two emotional journeys that overlap, the other characters of the family don't get enough screentime. We never really get to know the father of the family or the teenage daughter who is Michael's age, Collins (play ironically by Phil Collins daughter). She is a character who is the one who probably has the most conflict in the film because she is playing second fiddle to Michael. I can't imagine how my sister's would of felt in their last year of high school before they went off to university if my parent's decided to take in a homeless boy also the same age. This storyline has conflict and entertainment written all over it. But they really only touched on it for less than 5 minutes because there was just so much more to cover. It's too bad too.

If I was the producer of The Blind Side I would of stuck to the book and made this the story of Leigh Anne Touhy. She is such a dominant person and really the one that most Hollywood audiences can relate with. What she did took courage and guts because on the surface she really had nothing to gain. But it's something that many people with priviledge should be doing more often. There are so many gifted people in North America and the world who never hit their potential because they have no support. And there are so many people who have so much going for them (love, support, money), and I like to think it's our right to give to people what we have.

I love this story so much because it's my #1 philosophy to give to others that I have lots of and they need. And vice/versa. It's how the world should be working. And I'm not talking politics here as most people who know me know that I'm the farthest thing from a socialist. It's deeper than money, religion or beliefs. This is about what's suppose to occur in this world because it makes the world a better place. And what Leigh Anne Touhy did for Michael Oher should be commended and hopefully it will influence millions of more people to do the same. And that's why everyone should see this film. Too bad they just didn't make it Leigh Anne's story.

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