Thursday, February 25, 2010

Review: The Blind Side (John Lee Hancock, 2009)

The Blind Side is a genuinely heart warming, feel good American underdog success story. It’s the kind of film that finds success through word of mouth that suggests it is an entertaining and pleasant film experience. I am not denying that this is the case. It is just a very poorly made one, that conforms to genre cliché after genre cliché and is so glazed over that the emotional impact of the film is lost altogether. The Blind Side lacks any real emotional punch, while Leigh Anne Touhy (Sandra Bullock) has the pleasure she has in her caring actions plastered over her face for the entire film, and the rest of her family shows joy at Michael’s ultimate success, but this is rarely matched by Michael’s character, who’s quiet demeanor doesn’t give away to much at all. Bullock’s performance is very solid and often keeps the film together when it teeters on being juvenile, and is arguably the best in her career. But to say that it is Oscar worthy is something else. It is not even deserving of a nomination, let alone the likely victory.
Almost every event is full of cliché and coincidence that allows for convenient storytelling. It is a film full of turns in the lives of the characters; new developments and surprises, but there is almost no drama, only a swift transition to the next episode of the story, without any real explanation or deliberation of how these events are resolved. It can almost be called a comedy, but with a series of irritating anecdotes. The decision to legally adopt the boy comes about when his surname can’t be traced in the records for a drivers’ license. It can’t simply be coincidence that two of the first people Michael meets at school happen to be the Touhy children. The film also looks good, but perhaps too good. The gritty project housing system is glazed over and home to the most stereotypical drug gang you will ever witness, and the Touhy house is displayed in perfect upkeep for the entire film. The slow camera pan was used for almost every single dialogue sequence reminding me of a midday Soap, and the silly montages, which show both his athletic and his educational developments, just couldn’t be taken seriously.
There exists no depth to any of the characters, and they all seemed strangely accepting to taking on his baggage in addition to their own lives, which seemed to be perfect. Racism as a theme is a very minor facet and is quickly brushed over in one of two conversations. Michael’s development from talented but raw footballer into one of the most sought after prospects in the college game is the centre of the story, and even his success in this serious life challenge is handled almost child-like. When the college coaches come a-calling to his house, the youngest son is speaking on his behalf, asking what the college is going to offer him. This might get a few laughs from a forgiving audience, but it is nothing short of ridiculous. This is a glazed over Hollywood fluff story full of cheesy dialogue, shallow characters and poor performances, and the total absence of drama. Pretty mediocre. 

My Rating: 2 Stars

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