The Blind Side (film)
|The Blind Side|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Lee Hancock|
|Produced by||Broderick Johnson
|Screenplay by||John Lee Hancock|
|Based on||The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game
by Michael Lewis
|Music by||Carter Burwell|
|Edited by||Mark Livolsi|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$309.2 million|
The Blind Side is a 2009 American 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. The storyline features Michael Oher, an offensive lineman who played for the Baltimore Ravens and the Tennessee Titans, and currently is signed with the Carolina Panthers in the NFL. 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), 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 of the Ravens.
Quinton Aaron stars as Michael Oher, alongside Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy, Tim McGraw as Sean Tuohy, and Kathy Bates as Miss Sue. 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 the movie is set and represents it in the film, but was the head coach at Alabama at the time of filming), former coaches Lou Holtz, Tommy Tuberville, Phillip Fulmer, as well as recruiting analyst Tom Lemming.
The Blind Side grossed over $300 million. 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, which was considered a surprise for the producers.
In 2003, seventeen year old Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), an extremely large, physically imposing black youth, grew up in the projects in Memphis, Tennessee. He no longer lives with his drug addicted mother (Adriane Lenox), but is in foster care when he isn't running away to sleep wherever else he can find. Out of circumstances including Coach Burt Cotton (Ray McKinnon)'s belief that he would be an asset to the school's football program based solely on his size and seeing him move, Michael is accepted into Wingate Christian School — an exclusive private school — despite his abysmal 0.6 GPA. After Michael starts attending classes at Wingate, most of his teachers believe he is unteachable, except his science teacher, Mrs. Boswell (Kim Dickens), who begins to understand that he learns in a different way. Believing he is indeed homeless, Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock), fast food franchise owner and mother of Wingate students, teen Collins Tuohy (Lily Collins) and adolescent S.J. Tuohy (Jae Head), and wife to Sean Tuohy (Tim McGraw), invites Michael to stay in the Tuohy's upscale home for the night.
But that one night slowly extends itself both in terms of time and emotion as the Tuohys begin to treat Michael like one of the family and vice versa. Part of that emotional investment for Leigh Anne is fully understanding Michael as a person so that he can fulfill his potential as a human being, which includes giving him opportunities such as what Coach Cotton initially saw in Michael as a potential left tackle. Potential problems include Michael's poor academic standing which may prohibit him from participating in extracurricular activities at the school, his learning disability which may extend to other aspects of his life beyond his schooling, whether he actually can play football, and authorities questioning Leigh Anne and all the Tuohys' motivations in inviting Michael into their home and family.
- Quinton Aaron as Michael "Big Mike" Oher
- Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy
- Tim McGraw as Sean Tuohy
- Jae Head as Sean "S.J." Tuohy, Jr.
- Lily Collins as Collins Tuohy
- Kathy Bates as Miss Sue
- Ray McKinnon as Coach Burt Cotton
- Kim Dickens as Mrs. Boswell
- Adriane Lenox as Denise Oher
- Eaddy Mays as Elaine
- Robert "IronE" Singleton as Alton
Coaches playing themselves
- Tommy Tuberville, then coach of Auburn
- Nick Saban, then coach of Louisiana State
- Lou Holtz, then coach of South Carolina
- Phillip Fulmer, then coach of Tennessee
- Houston Nutt, then coach of Arkansas
- Ed Orgeron, then coach of Ole Miss
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.
Academy Award winner Julia Roberts was originally offered Bullock's role, but turned it down. 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. 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.
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. 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 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.
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. 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. 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. The Blind Side has also become the highest grossing football movie and sports drama of all time domestically  unadjusted for ticket inflation. 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. In the UK and Ireland, The Blind Side was released on March 26, 2010. It was the third biggest release of that weekend behind Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.
The film received moderately positive reviews, with critics praising Sandra Bullock's performance. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 66%, based on 196 reviews, with a rating average of 6.1/10. The site's general consensus reads, "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." Metacritic, which assigned a normalized score of 53 out of 100, based on 29 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". CinemaScore reported that audiences gave the film a rare "A+" grade.
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 Tuohy. 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." 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.
Awards and nominations
The Blind Side has earned numerous awards and nominations for the lead performance of the film's star, Sandra Bullock.
|Academy Awards||Best Picture||Broderick Johnson, Andrew Kosove and Gil Netter||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Leading Role||Sandra Bullock||Won|
|Critics’ Choice Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama||Won|
|Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Movie Actress||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role||Won|
|People's Choice Awards||Favorite Movie Actress||Won|
|Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Movie Actress – Drama||Won|
|Breakout Male Actor||Quinton Aaron||Nominated|
|Favorite Drama Movie||The Blind Side||Won|
|ESPY Awards||Best Sports Movie||Won|
Best Picture nomination
The nomination of The Blind Side for Best Picture was considered a surprise, even to its producers. 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 five to ten in time for the 82nd Academy Awards, the year The Blind Side was nominated. However, in 2011, the Academy changed the policy, stating that the Best Picture category would feature between five and ten nominees depending on voting results, as opposed to a set number of nominees.[not in citation given] 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.
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. However, while the score soundtrack by Carter Burwell was released on CD, none of the featured songs were included.
The Blind Side was released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 23, 2010. The Blind Side was available exclusively for rental from Blockbuster for 28 days.
Redbox and Netflix customers had to wait 28 days before they were able to rent the movie. 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 to continue purchasing DVD titles at wholesale prices. On February 16, 2010, Redbox settled the lawsuit 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.
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- Melissa Anderson, The Blind Side: What Would Black People Do Without Nice White Folks?, 19 November 2009.
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