When a story goes from real life to the big screen, it can be hard to tell what’s true and what’s best for the movie.
There are moments in “The Blind Side” when I found myself wondering is it real or is it scripted?
In the end, I decided it didn’t matter. “The Blind Side,” based on the life of University of Mississippi left tackle Michael Oher, is an enjoyable trip to the theater.
Michael (Quinton Aaron) is cold and alone and walking along a road when the Tuohy family sees him. Leigh Anne (Sandra Bullock) tells her husband to pull over, and Sean (Tim McGraw) does what he’s told.
They take “Big Mike” in for the night and learn that he’s homeless. Over the course of the movie, Michael, who hates to be called Big Mike, becomes a part of the Tuohy family.
If that were it, “The Blind Side” still might make a good movie. But it turns out that Michael is a highly talented football player, especially after Leigh Anne explains that a football team is like a family.
Michael becomes a heavily recruited player, and coaches Houston Nutt, Phil Fulmer, Ed Orgeron, Lou Holtz, Tommy Tuberville and Nick Saban play themselves, which should be fun to watch for SEC football fans.
But this isn’t really a football movie. There’s some game action, but most of the story comes from the family dynamics, as Michael bonds with his new brother, S.J. (Jae Head), and sister, Collins (Lily Collins).
Writer and director John Lee Hancock pulled from Michael Lewis’ book, “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game.” The result is a touching film that includes plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.
By necessity, some of those moments have been built to suit the movie. The character of S.J. seems straight out of central casting. Maybe the movie depicts him honestly. If so, the kid could’ve made a fortune on the right television situation comedy.
My quibbles are with the external details, but I’m not questioning the movie’s heart. That rings true.
Certainly, University of Mississippi fans should see the “The Blind Side.” Secure in the knowledge Oher is safely in the NFL, Mississippi State fans might find something to enjoy, too.
I give “The Blind Side” an A minus.
It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville.
Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.
M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal