December 27, 2009

The Blind Side

The Blind Side

theatrical release poster
Directed by John Lee Hancock
Produced by Broderick Johnson
Andrew Kosove
Gil Netter
Written by John Lee Hancock
Michael Lewis
Starring Sandra Bullock
Tim McGraw
Quinton Aaron
Kathy Bates
Music by Carter Burwell
Cinematography Alar Kivilo
Editing by Mark Livolsi
Studio Alcon Entertainment
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) November 20, 2009 (2009-11-20)
Running time 128 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $29 million
Gross revenue $184,387,000

The Blind Side is a 2009 American drama sport film written and directed by John Lee Hancock, and based on the 2006 book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis. The storyline features Michael Oher, an offensive lineman who plays for the Baltimore Ravens of the NFL. The film follows Oher from his impoverished upbringings, through his years at Wingate Christian School (a fictional representation of Briarcrest Christian School), his adoption by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, and on to his position as one of the most highly coveted prospects in college football.

The film stars Quinton Aaron as Michael Oher, Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy, Tim McGraw as Sean Tuohy, Oher's adoptive parents, and Kathy Bates as Miss Sue, Oher's tutor. The movie also features appearances by several current and former National Collegiate Athletic Association coaches, including Houston Nutt, Ed Orgeron, Phillip Fulmer, Nick Saban, Lou Holtz and Tommy Tuberville, and recruiting analyst Tom Lemming.


For nearly 17 years Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) has been in foster care with many foster parents. But every time he is sent to a new foster home, he runs off. One of his foster parents enrolls him into a Christian school, after the father convinces the coach that "Big Mike" is a natural athlete. The coach convinces the school principal and other teachers to enroll him into the school.

After school one day, Michael meets SJ (Jae Head), who quickly befriends Michael. Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) is an interior designer, mother to SJ and Collins (Lily Collins), and wife to Sean Tuohy (Tim McGraw). After a cultural festival at school Leigh Anne notices Michael walking on the road, shivering in the freezing cold. She pities his situation and takes him home. Even though she does a good deed, Sean worries to Leigh Anne whether Michael might steal anything from her home. The next morning, much to her dismay, she finds Michael missing. She follows Michael on to the street and asks him to spend Thanksgiving with her family. Slowly, Michael starts becoming a part of the family, even as Leigh Anne's friends warn her that Michael could affect SJ and Collin's social life. Nonetheless, SJ and Michael become buddies. Leigh Anne goes to the school about Michael's academic performance and is surprised to learn that even though he has scored low in essentially every aspect, he was scored in the 98th percentile in 'protective instincts.' Sean also starts liking Michael and gives the Tuohys as the emergency contact in case of any problem regarding Michael, and also talks to the school coach to get Michael enrolled in to the school football team. Leigh Anne decides to legally adopt Michael (which will allow him to get a driver's license) and convinces Sean to do so.

Michael performs very well on the football field and catches the eye of many college coaches from around the state. SJ tells Michael that his mother cannot stand Tennessee. Leigh Anne comes to know that to get a NCAA Division I Scholarship, Michael needs a 2.5 GPA; his currently is very low. To improve his performance in academics, they hire a private tutor. The teachers at his school also take a special interest in him and start giving his tests verbally rather than in written format. During one of his private tutor classes his tutor, Miss Sue (Kathy Bates), tells him that the FBI bury the body parts of the unrecognized dead people under the football field of University of Tennessee.[clarification needed] Michael's heart aches and this is possibly shown as a reason for Michael opting to join University of Mississippi ending with a 2.52 GPA. All goes well and one day Michael receives a call from the NCAA, who suspect that the Tuohys forced Michael to select Mississippi, rather than Tennessee, his home-town team. The investigator also tells him that both the parent Tuohys were from Mississippi and his school coach also got a better job after Michael's fame.

Michael leaves the investigation room and confronts Leigh Anne, and asks her if she wanted him to select Mississippi. Michael runs from his home and goes to his own locality, where brothers friends confront him and abuse his relation with the Tuohys. A fight ensues, where Michael narrowly avoids a gunshot by lifting one of the gangsters' hands holding the gun above his head, and Michael soon flees the scene. Leigh Anne waits for Michael at home but he doesn't show up. Leigh Anne, fearing that she has made a mistake, goes in search of Michael. Michael calls Leigh Anne, and they meet again at a neighborhood laundromat. Leigh Anne asks if he really wanted to play football. She tells him that she will accept his decision. Michael goes back to the investigator and tell her that the only reason he choose Mississippi was because his whole family has always gone to school at Mississippi. Michael gets accepted to Ole Miss with a scholarship for football. Leaving Michael at school, Leigh Anne feels happy on her way back home for what she has done for Michael, from what could have been his future if she hadn't met him.

The Film ends with the 2009 NFL Draft, showing Michael Oher being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens.


  • Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy
  • Tim McGraw as Sean Tuohy
  • Kathy Bates as Miss Sue
  • Quinton Aaron as Michael "Big Mike" Oher
  • Lily Collins as Collins Tuohy
  • Jae Head as Sean ("S.J.") Tuohy, Jr.
  • Ray McKinnon as Coach Cotton
  • Kim Dickens as Mrs. Boswell
  • Adriane Lenox as Denise Oher
  • Catherine Dyer as Mrs. Smith


The Blind Side is a film of Alcon Entertainment and a distribution of Warner Bros.. The film was partially filmed at The Atlanta International School and The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia, and features many of their students. The film premiered on November 17 in New York City and New Orleans, and opened in theaters on November 20 in the United States and Canada.

According to Reuters, the film's production budget was $29 million. Sandra Bullock took a pay cut and agreed to receive a percentage of the profits.


Critical reception

The film received mostly positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 71% of 129 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 6.3 out of 10. The site's general consensus is that "It might strike some viewers as a little too pat, but The Blind Side has the benefit of strong source material and a strong performance from Sandra Bullock." Among Rotten Tomatoes' "Top Critics", which consists of popular and notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television and radio programs, the film holds an overall approval rating of 58%, based on a sample of 24 reviews. Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from film critics, has a rating score of 53 based on 28 reviews.

Ann Hornaday of Washington Post gave a positive review of the film writing: "There's been something off-putting about the ad campaign for 'The Blind Side,' a drama about a white woman who adopts an African American high school student, from trailers trafficking in nearly every troubling African American stereotype in movies (from the Magical Negro to the surly low-level bureaucrat), to posters featuring the patronizing image of Sandra Bullock gently leading her looming, gentle giant of a son down a football field. It turns out that 'The Blind Side' is much better than its ads... Grounded in the direct, disarming truth of their experience, the movie has a straightforward lack of cheap sentiment that saves it from being either too maudlin or saccharine-sweet."

Betsy Sharkey writing for Los Angeles Times "Wisely, Hancock has given the film as much humor as heart, whether it's Michael bench-pressing SJ or Leigh Anne calling in plays to a very irritated high school coach." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly called the film "a feel-good movie that never stops feeling good. The film is based on a true story..., but you never honestly feel that Hancock has captured what's true about it... He's so devoted to showing us what upbeat, selfless folks Leigh Anne and her family are that the movie never quite gets around to discovering what any of those far superior saintly-family TV shows surely would have: a dramatic conflict... what The Blind Side offers is a kind of liberal Hollywood version of conservative values: all rock-solid valor, all the time. The result isn't solid at all — it's more like cotton-candy uplift. C"

Michael Medved gave The Blind Side four stars out of four, calling the film "..funny, touching, [and] enormously satisfying.." Medved added that, "Sandra Bullock's Oscar worthy performance is without question the best work of her career."

In a review by Christian Hamaker it was noted: "The film's treatment of religion, while not as explicit as some Christian viewers might hope, is marred only by a misquoted Bible verse on a school sign—a jarring error in this otherwise warmhearted, true-life crowd-pleaser."

In 2009, Sandra Bullock was nominated for a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her role in The Blind Side.

Box office

The Blind Side opened in 3,110 theaters on its opening weekend, the weekend of November 20, 2009. It grossed a very strong $34,510,000 in its opening weekend, the second highest gross of that weekend. It was the highest-grossing opening weekend of Sandra Bullock's career. The per-theater average for The Blind Side's opening weekend was $11,096. In its opening weekend, the movie already proved to be a financial success, having a budget of just $29,000,000. It proved to have remarkable staying power, taking in an additional $9.5 million, bringing its gross to $60,125,000 by the weekend of November 27, 2009. The movie enjoyed a very rare greater success for the second weekend than it did in its opening weekend, taking in an estimated $40 million, an increase of 18 percent, from November 27 to November 29, 2009, bringing its gross to $100,250,000. In its third weekend, the movie continued its trend of rare feats by moving up to the number one position with $20.4 million in sales after spending the previous two weekends in second place for a total gross of $128.8 million. In its fourth weekend, it moved down to second place, dropping a slim 23% with an estimated $15.5 million for a domestic total of $150.2 million as of December 13, 2009.

After its fifth weekend, the film became the highest grossing sports film ever, as well as the highest grossing film of Sandra Bullock's career.

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