The Blind Side (film)

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This article is about the 2009 feature film about an American football player. For other films of the same name, see The Blind Side.
The Blind Side
Blind side poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Lee Hancock
Produced by Broderick Johnson
Andrew Kosove
Gil Netter
Screenplay by John Lee Hancock
Based on The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game 
by Michael Lewis
Starring Sandra Bullock
Tim McGraw
Quinton Aaron
Kathy Bates
Music by Carter Burwell
Cinematography Alar Kivilo
Edited by Mark Livolsi
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • November 20, 2009 (2009-11-20)
Running time 129 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $29 million[1]
Box office $309,208,309[1]

The Blind Side is a 2009 American semi-biographical sports drama film. It was written and directed by John Lee Hancock, and based on the 2006 book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis.[2][3] The storyline features Michael Oher, an offensive lineman who played for the Baltimore Ravens of the NFL (he currently plays for the Tennessee Titans). The film follows Oher from his impoverished upbringing, through his years at Wingate Christian School (a fictional representation of Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis, Tennessee),[4] his adoption by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, to his position as one of the most highly coveted prospects in college football, then finally becoming a first-round pick in the NFL by the Baltimore Ravens.

Sandra Bullock stars as Leigh Anne Tuohy, alongside Quinton Aaron as Michael Oher, Tim McGraw as Sean Tuohy, and Kathy Bates as Miss Sue.[2] The movie also features appearances by several current and former NCAA coaches, including SEC coaches Houston Nutt and Ed Orgeron (Oher's coaches in college, though Nutt represented Arkansas at the time and therefore does so in the film) and Nick Saban (who was at LSU at the time and represents it in the film), former coaches Lou Holtz, Tommy Tuberville, Phillip Fulmer, as well as recruiting analyst Tom Lemming.[5]

The Blind Side was a box-office success, grossing over $300 million. The film was well received by critics, who praised Sandra Bullock's performance. Bullock went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actress, as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role. The film also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.

Plot[edit]

18-year-old Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) is talking to an investigator from the NCAA. Michael asks the investigator if he can leave but is told he cannot.

Flashback: Michael has been in foster care with different families in Memphis, Tennessee, due to his mother's drug addiction. Every time he is placed in a new home, he runs away. His friend's father, on whose couch Mike has been sleeping, asks Burt Cotton (Ray McKinnon), the coach of Wingate Christian School, to help enroll his son and Mike. Impressed by Mike's size and athleticism, Cotton gets him admitted despite a poor academic record. Michael walks out of school when he says hi to some children and they leave. Soon Michael is befriended by a boy named Sean Jr. "S.J." Tuohy (Jae Head). He suggests that Michael smiles at the children knowing that he is trying to be friendly to them. S.J.'s mother Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) is a strong-minded interior designer and the wife of wealthy businessman Sean Tuohy (Tim McGraw). Leigh Anne notices Michael and asks S.J. who he is and is told he is Big Mike.

After the school staff tell Michael that his father passed away, leaving Michael homeless, Michael seeks shelter at a laundrette.

Later, Leigh Anne, S.J. and Sean watch their daughter, Collins (Lily Collins) playing volleyball. Later Sean notices Michael picking up some leftover food at the bench. Michael, having no money for food, lives by scrounging half-empty containers of snacks after school games, which Mr. Tuohy notices, after which he pays for a meal ticket for Michael.

One night, Leigh Anne notices Michael walking on the road, shivering in the cold, when she learns he intends to spend the night huddled outside the school gym. When they drive away, Leigh Anne tells Sean to turn the car around and she sees and tells Michael that the gym is closed. She asks why he is going to the gym and he responds that it was warm. She asks if he has somewhere to live, Michael simply says yes, But Leigh asks Michael not to lie to her and then offers him a place to stay and sleep at her house. Michael accepts and gets in the car. Arriving at the Tuohy house, Leigh Anne sets a blanket and pillow for use on the couch. Later, when going to sleep, Sean ask Leigh Anne if she is just going to let him stay one night and Leigh Anne is unsure about it.

The next morning, Leigh Anne notices that Michael is gone and sees Michael leaving. She asks him to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with her family. Slowly, Michael becomes a member of the Tuohy family. Later that day, Leigh Anne drives Michael to his mother's house. Leigh Anne is about to leave the car when Michael suddenly and urgently insists on her to stay in the car. He heads to his mother's apartment, where all he finds is an eviction notice. He returns to the car when Leigh Anne asks a question to Michael, but he remains silent. Leigh Anne requests that Michael tell her one thing about himself, and he responds by saying that he does not like being called Big Mike. Leigh Anne then decides that he will only be addressed as Michael. Later, Leigh Anne goes to buy clothes for Michael. Michael picks the clothes he wants to wear and Leigh Anne purchases them for him. When Leigh Anne seeks to become Michael's legal guardian, she learns he was separated from his drug-addict mother when he was seven and that no one knows her whereabouts. She is also told that, although he has scored low in a career aptitude test, he is in the 98th percentile in "protective instincts."

Leigh Anne uses that to explain to him how to play football. Up to that moment, he wasn't able to get the hang of the game and its rules, and he wasn't able to understand what his role on the field was.

From that moment, Michael starts to play well and be useful to his team. At the traditional Christmas card photograph of that year, Leigh Anne invites him to appear in the family photo. Leigh Anne's friends Beth (Rhoda Griffs), Elaine (Eaddy Mays) and Sherry (Ashley LeConte Campbell) meet regularly at a local expensive restaurant. The friends laugh about Leigh Anne's "project in the projects," but she cuts them off, saying that if they don't respect what she does, she will stop seeing them.

An opportunity arises for Michael to play at university level. However, he needs his grades to improve, so the Tuohys hire a private tuition teacher, outspoken and kind Miss Sue (Kathy Bates), who is determined to succeed, because she, like Mrs. Tuohy, wants him to play for Ole Miss. During their geography lesson, she makes a remark about the University of Tennessee burying the body parts of dead people under their football field, which Michael seems to believe blindly. While he had been leaning toward Tennessee, this event leads him ultimately to sign on with Ole Miss.

There comes a moment when Leigh Anne wants to have a face-to-face conversation with Michael's mother Denise (Adriane Lenox) to enable her to adopt Michael. Although she seems unresponsive in the beginning, the mother finally wishes Michael the best. She says that social services had branded Michael "a runner," and she forecasts that Leigh Anne will find one day that he has run away for good without giving any previous notice. Leigh Anne also faces some tough guys from the projects who had made ugly insinuations about her before. They are left speechless when she threatens them and is not afraid of them at all.

Many universities want Michael to play on their teams. Sean talks to the coaches, and leads the negotiations on Michael's behalf—and his own. When Michael gets his grades high enough, he must make a decision, and he does. He chooses the university for which Sean had played, and where Leigh Anne had been a cheerleader. That causes Investigator Granger (Sharon Morris) to look into the matter before Michael arrives there. She questions him as though she were holding interrogatory proceedings at a police station. She thinks that the Tuohys and Miss Sue are using Michael to benefit Ole Miss, their alma mater.

Michael runs away before the interview is over, and goes to find his birth mother. The leader of the tough guys welcomes him back to Hurt Village, offers him a beer, and insinuates that Michael has had sexual relations with Leigh Anne or her daughter. This rouses Michael's protective instincts, as the gang leader threatens to go after the two ladies himself. Michael shoves him into a wall, knocking his gun aside. After thinking and questioning Leigh Ann on the matter, Michael realizes that the Tuohys are now his family, and tells Granger that that's the reason he has chosen Ole Miss.

The film ends saying that he'll succeed and become a professional player later on. S.J. is seen leading the players onto the game field with Michael before all local games. [6]

Cast[edit]

Bullock was acclaimed for her performance in the film, and as a result, won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2010

Coaches playing themselves[edit]

Production[edit]

The Blind Side was produced by Alcon Entertainment and released by Warner Bros. According to Reuters, the film's production budget was $29 million. Filming for the school scenes took place at Atlanta International School and The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia, and it features many of their students as extras. The film premiered on November 17 in New York City and New Orleans and opened in theaters on November 20 in the rest of the United States and in Canada.[7]

Academy Award winner Julia Roberts was originally offered Bullock's role, but turned it down.[8] Bullock initially turned down the starring role three times due to discomfort with portraying a devout Christian. By her own account, Bullock felt she couldn't objectively represent such a person's beliefs on screen.[9] But after a visit with the real Leigh Anne Tuohy, Bullock not only won the role, but also took a pay cut and agreed to receive a percentage of the profits instead.[10]

Reception[edit]

The film received generally mixed to positive reviews from critics, with Sandra Bullock's acting being critically acclaimed. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 66% based on 196 reviews, with a rating average of 6.1 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."[11] Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from film critics, has a rating score of 53 based on 29 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[12]

Box office[edit]

The Blind Side opened in 3,110 theaters on its opening weekend, the weekend of November 20, 2009. It grossed a strong $34,510,000 in its opening weekend, the second highest gross of that weekend, behind The Twilight Saga: New Moon. 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.[13] 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.[14] 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, coming in second to New Moon once again, bringing its gross to $100,250,000.[1]

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, due to strong word-of-mouth.[15] In its fourth weekend, it moved down to second place, dropping a slim 23% with an estimated $15.5 million for a total of $150.2 million in the United States and Canada as of December 13, 2009.[15] The film hit $200 million domestically on January 1, 2010, marking the first time a movie marketed with a sole actress' name above the title (Bullock's) has crossed the $200 million mark.[16] The Blind Side has also become the highest grossing football movie and sports drama of all time domestically [17][18] unadjusted for ticket inflation.[19] The Blind Side ended its domestic theatrical run on June 4, 2010 (nearly 7 months after it opened), earning a total of $255,959,475.[20] In the UK, The Blind Side was released on March 26, 2010.[21] It was the third biggest release of that weekend behind Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.[22]

Accolades[edit]

The Blind Side has earned numerous awards and nominations for the lead performance of the film's star, Sandra Bullock.

Awards and Nominations
Award Category Nominee Result
Academy Award Best Actress Sandra Bullock Won
Best Picture Film Nominated
Critics’ Choice Award Best Actress Sandra Bullock Won (tied with Meryl Streep)
ESPY Awards Best Sports Movie Film Won
Golden Globe Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Sandra Bullock Won
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actress Sandra Bullock Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Sandra Bullock Won
People's Choice Award Favorite Movie Actress Sandra Bullock Won
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award Best Actress Sandra Bullock Nominated
Teen Choice Awards 2010 Favorite Drama Movie Film Won
Movie Actress – Drama Sandra Bullock Won
Breakout Male Actor Quinton Aaron Nominated

Best Picture nomination[edit]

The nomination of The Blind Side for Best Picture was considered a surprise, even to its producers.[23] In an attempt to revitalize interest surrounding the awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had upped the number of Best Picture nominees from a mandatory number of 5 to a mandatory 10 in time for the 82nd Academy Awards, the year The Blind Side was nominated.[24] In 2011 the Academy changed the policy: stating the Best Picture category would feature between five and ten nominees depending on voting results, as opposed to a set number of nominees.[24] The change was interpreted as a response to films like The Blind Side being nominated for Best Picture to fill up the set number of spots.[25][26]

Race controversy[edit]

The Blind Side has been criticized as presenting a white savior narrative in which Oher, an African-American male, is unable to overcome poverty and personal failure without the guidance of adoptive, white mother Touhy. For example, Jeffrey Montez de Oca of the University of Colorado writes that in The Blind Side's portrayal of adoption, "charity operates as a signifying act of whiteness that obscures the social relations of domination that not only make charity possible but also creates an urban underclass in need of charity."[27] Melissa Anderson of the Dallas Observer argues that the "mute, docile" portrayal of Oher effectively endorses the Uncle Tom stereotype of African-American submission to white authority.[28]

Soundtrack[edit]

The movie features 23 songs by artists including Les Paul, Young MC, Lucy Woodward, The Books, Canned Heat, Five for Fighting, and the film's co-star Tim McGraw.[29] However, while the score soundtrack by Carter Burwell was released on CD, none of the featured songs were included.

Home media[edit]

The Blind Side was released on DVD and Blu-ray March 23, 2010. The Blind Side was available exclusively for rental from Blockbuster for 28 days.[30]

Redbox and Netflix customers had to wait 28 days before they were able to rent the movie.[31][32] This stems from the settlement of a lawsuit brought by Redbox against Warner Home Video, who, in an attempt to boost DVD sales, refused to sell wholesale titles to Redbox. On August 19, 2009 Redbox sued Warner Home Video[33] to continue purchasing DVD titles at wholesale prices. On February 16, 2010, Redbox settled the lawsuit[32] and agreed to a 28-day window past the street date.

As of July 9, 2013, units sold for the DVD stand at more than 8.4 million copies and has grossed a further $107,962,159 adding to its total gross.[34]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "The Blind Side Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 5, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Dave McNary (March 27, 2009). "Kathy Bates to star in 'Blind Side'". Variety. Retrieved June 7, 2009. 
  3. ^ "The Blind Side (2009)". Internet Movie Database. April 22, 2009. Retrieved May 8, 2009. 
  4. ^ Briarcrest opted out of feature role in 'The Blind Side' from CommercialAppeal.com
  5. ^ Schlabach, Mark (June 29, 2009). "Prominent coaches turn actors for film". ESPN. Retrieved July 1, 2009. 
  6. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0878804/synopsis
  7. ^ The Blind Side – Release dates
  8. ^ Abramowitz, Rachel (December 16, 2009). "A Bonanza Year for Sandra Bullock". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 8, 2010. 
  9. ^ Swartzendruber, Jay (November 17, 2010). "Believers Walk the Talk in The Blind Side". Crosswalk.com. Retrieved March 8, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Sandra Bullock scores touchdown at box office" on Reuters.com
  11. ^ "The Blind Side (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved December 14, 2009. 
  12. ^ "The Blind Side: Reviews (2009)". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 26, 2009. 
  13. ^ Weekend Box Office Results for November 20–22, 2009 from Box Office Mojo
  14. ^ Daily Box Office for Thursday, November 26, 2009 from Box Office Mojo
  15. ^ a b "'Blind Side' tops 'New Moon' at box office" from Hollywood Reporter
  16. ^ "'Avatar' passes $300 million mark on Friday, and Sandra Bullock makes box-office history" from Hollywood Insider
  17. ^ Sports – Football Movies at the Box Office. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on January 23, 2011
  18. ^ Sports Drama Movies at the Box Office. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on January 23, 2011
  19. ^ Weekend Report: ‘Avatar’ Rocks New Year’s. Box Office Mojo (January 4, 2010). Retrieved on January 23, 2011.
  20. ^ End-of-Run Report: 'Blind Side,' 'Crazy Heart,' 'Runaways' Close. Box Office Mojo (June 6, 2010). Retrieved on January 23, 2011
  21. ^ "The Blind Side". Yahoo!. Retrieved July 23, 2010. 
  22. ^ Gant, Charles (March 30, 2010). "Nanny McPhee sends Alice in Wonderland to the naughty step at the UK box office". Film (London: The Guardian). Retrieved July 23, 2010. 
  23. ^ Michael Cieply and Paula Schwartz, ‘Blind Side’ Finds a Path to the Oscars by Running Up the Middle, The New York Times, February 10, 2010, accessed February 4, 2014.
  24. ^ a b "82nd Academy Awards to Feature 10 Best Picture Nominees". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). June 24, 2009. Archived from the original on April 8, 2010. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  25. ^ David Karger, The Academy's new Best Picture rule: How it will change the prediction period, Entertainment Weekly, June 15, 2011, accessed February 4, 2014.
  26. ^ Nicole Sperling and Amy Kaufman, Oscars change rule for best-picture race, Los Angeles Times, June 16, 2011, accessed February 4, 2014.
  27. ^ Montez de Oca, J. (2012). White Domestic Goddess on a Postmodern Plantation: Charity and Commodity Racism in The Blind Side. Sociology Of Sport Journal, 29(2), 131-150.
  28. ^ Melissa Anderson, The Blind Side: What Would Black People Do Without Nice White Folks?, 19 November 2009.
  29. ^ Blind Side, The [2009] Soundtrack @ what-song. What-song.com. Retrieved on January 23, 2011
  30. ^ Panchuk, Kerri (March 19, 2010). "Blockbuster CEO: The movie's not over yet". 
  31. ^ Warner Bros. Home Entertainment And Netflix Announce New Agreements Covering Availability Of Dvds, Blu-Ray And Streaming Content. Netflix.mediaroom.com (January 6, 2010). Retrieved on January 23, 2011
  32. ^ a b redbox press room. redbox press room (February 16, 2010). Retrieved on January 23, 2011
  33. ^ redbox press room. redbox press room (August 19, 2009). Retrieved on January 23, 2011
  34. ^ The Blind Side – DVD Sales. The Numbers. Retrieved on July 9, 2013

External links[edit]