Directed by John Lee Hancock
I should probably make this clear, the only reason I even sat down to watch this film is because it’s been nominated for Best Picture by the Academy. The fact that 10 films have been nominated this year simply means that at least a quarter of them are going to be unjustly so. (But I suppose that’s the same tragedy that takes place every year… this year, there’s just more.) All of this is just to say that the likelihood of me actually enjoying this film was slim to none. And as it turns out, I didn’t.
“The Blind Side” is a competent film. There is nothing all together wrong with it. Sure, sometimes it’s directed with the tact of sledgehammer being used to pound a screw into a wall, but at times there is the occasional flash of subtlety that works well. The acting is all standard stuff as well. Though how Bullock is getting nominated for an academy award for this role (and will likely win too) is beyond me. Ms. Bullock is an entertaining, but not often captivating actress that has paid her dues in this industry, but I have never watched anything she has done and thought to myself, “this is something to celebrate.” My thoughts remain the same after seeing this film.
My other problem with this film is how manipulative it is. But then again, this entire “feel good story” genre would cease to accomplish its intended purposes if the stories they told weren’t so backhandedly saccharine. It’s a nice story, there’s no way around that. Charity is good. To say that it’s not is like saying that poison is good for you and pizza isn’t delicious. My problem with the charity in this story is how horribly it paints all African-Americans. Now this is based on a true story and I’m sure they tried their best to stay true to the facts of this man’s life, but come on… besides the first family that Michael stays with, every other African-American in this film is portrayed as evil or barely existant. I’ve heard that they took liberties with other aspects of the story, they could have chosen to do so here as well.
The bottom line is “Precious” (also nominated and justly so) took a very similar subject matter and created something with not only artistic integrity, but personal integrity (for the characters) as well. “The Blind Side” is simply a watered down, God fearing, sports loving version of the same kind of story. If you need to watch every film that’s nominated for all the major awards by the academy (like I have sadly been programmed to do) then give “The Blind Side” a watch. But if not, skip it. There are better films out there.