Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 47
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

NOBODY KNOWS YOU WHEN YOU’RE DOWN AND OUT: Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) is living on the streets of Memphis in the winter when he is discovered by the wealthy mother of one of his school classmates. The mother, Leigh Anne Touhy (Sandra Bullock, not shown) takes him into her home, provides him with a tutor and personal trainer, and helps him achieve his dream of playing professional football.

The Blind Side: Wealthy Family Adopts Orphan in Movie Based on True Story

Kam Williams

The holiday season seems to always have at least one heartwarming tale about an orphan who’s miraculously saved by some selfless act of charity. This year’s addition to the genre is The Blind Side, a real-life story based on Michael Lewis’ best selling book of the same name.

Superficially, the picture’s plot resembles the typical Cinderella style sports saga that has a fairytale ending. The movie describes the story of Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) as he pursues his dream of playing pro football which started in high school, continued through college, and culminates in a promising NFL career which Michael has just begun this season with the Baltimore Ravens.

But Michael’s chances of success were complicated by the fact that he was not only abandoned by his parents and left homeless, but he was also illiterate and practically mute. His life improved considerably when he is spotted in the middle of winter living on the streets of Memphis by Leigh Anne Touhy (Sandra Bullock). The wealthy, white socialite is shocked to learn that Michael is a classmate of her daughter Collins (Lily Collins).

When she brings Michael home for a bath, he cleans up nicely and gets along so well with the family that, after a good night’s sleep, they decide to take him in. So, Leigh Anne hires a tutor (Kathy Bates) to help him get his grades up, while her son S. J. (Jae Head) serves as Michael’s personal trainer.

Written and directed by John Lee Hancock (The Alamo), The Blind Side is best approached as an antiseptic version of Precious. Whereas the movie Precious is raw and unnerving, The Blind Side presents relatively benign scenarios that subtly suggest that the solution for the multitude of problems faced by ghetto dwellers lies in their being rescued from their misery by wealthy benefactors.

If only it were that simple.

Good (2 stars). Rated PG-13 for sexual references, drug use, and brief violence. Running time: 128 minutes. Studio: Warner Brothers.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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