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 Quinton Aaron
Sandra Bullock
Tim McGraw
Kathy Bates
Music by Carter Burwell
Cinematography Alar Kivilo
Edited by Mark Livolsi
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures Summit Entertainment
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 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),[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 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.[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]

In 2003, Michael "Big Mike" Oher (Aaron) has been living in foster care with different families in Memphis, Tennessee. Every time he is placed in a new home, he runs away. His friend's father, on whose couch Michael has been sleeping, asks Burt Cotton, the coach of Wingate Christian School, to help enroll his son and Michael. Impressed by the boy's size and athleticism, Cotton gets him admitted despite a poor academic record. Michael is befriended by a young boy named Sean Jr. "S.J." Tuohy, who is unintimidated by his appearance. S.J.'s mother Leigh Anne Tuohy (Bullock), a strong-minded interior designer, begins to take notice of Michael as a troubled and lonely boy.

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. Despite her husband Sean's (McGraw) misgivings, she invites him to stay the night at their house. The next morning, Leigh Anne catches Michael attempting to leave the house quietly. She asks him to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with her family. Slowly Michael becomes a member of the Tuohy family, as Leigh Anne buys him clothes, S.J. raises his confidence, and teenage daughter Collins Tuohy helps him make friends at school. 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 this on the football field.

An opportunity arises for Michael to play at university level, and he is highly sought by a number of schools. In order to meet the minimum GPA requirement, the Tuohys hire a private tutor, outspoken and kind Miss Sue (Bates). During their lessons, she attempts to steer him towards Ole Miss (her and the Tuohys' alma mater) by making remarks about the University of Tennessee burying the body parts of dead people under their football field. Michael ultimately decides to attend Ole Miss. An investigation follows to look into whether Michael was unduly influenced by the Tuohys and Miss Sue to benefit their alma mater. Michael walks out of the room before the interview is over.

After confronting Leigh Anne about her motives for influencing him, Michael goes to find his birth mother in his old neighborhood. A number of young men who know Michael welcome him back to the housing project and offer him beer. When the gang leader makes sexually suggestive comments regarding Leigh Anne and Collins, Michael assaults the boys and leaves. After thinking and questioning Leigh Anne on the matter, Michael realizes that the Tuohys are now his family, and tells the investigator in another interview that attending his family's school is the reason he has chosen Ole Miss.

The film ends with real-life footage of Oher being drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2009 NFL Draft. S.J. is seen leading the players onto the field with Michael before a game.

Cast[edit]

Sandra Bullock in 2010 after receiving the SAG award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

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.[6]

Academy Award winner Julia Roberts was originally offered Bullock's role, but turned it down.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9]

Reception[edit]

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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[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.[12] 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.[12] 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.[13] The Blind Side has also become the highest grossing football movie and sports drama of all time domestically [14][15] unadjusted for ticket inflation.[16] 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.[17] In the UK, The Blind Side was released on March 26, 2010.[18] It was the third biggest release of that weekend behind Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.[19]

Critical reviews[edit]

The film received generally lukewarm reviews from critics, though Sandra Bullock's acting performance was widely lauded. 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."[20] 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".[21] CinemaScore reported that audiences gave the film a rare "A+" grade.[22]

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."[23] 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.[24]

Awards and nominations[edit]

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

Association Category Nominee Result
Academy Awards Best Actress in a Leading Role Sandra Bullock Won
Best Picture Film Nominated
Critics’ Choice Awards Best Actress Sandra Bullock (tied with Meryl Streep) Won
ESPY Awards Best Sports Movie Film Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Sandra Bullock Won
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actress Sandra Bullock Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Sandra Bullock Won
People's Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actress Sandra Bullock Won
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Best Actress Sandra Bullock Nominated
Teen Choice Awards 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.[25] 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 a mandatory ten in time for the 82nd Academy Awards, the year The Blind Side was nominated.[26] 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.[26][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.[27][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 on 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. ^ The Blind Side – Release dates
  7. ^ Abramowitz, Rachel (December 16, 2009). "A Bonanza Year for Sandra Bullock". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 8, 2010. 
  8. ^ Swartzendruber, Jay (November 17, 2010). "Believers Walk the Talk in The Blind Side". Crosswalk.com. Retrieved March 8, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Sandra Bullock scores touchdown at box office" on Reuters.com
  10. ^ Weekend Box Office Results for November 20–22, 2009 from Box Office Mojo
  11. ^ Daily Box Office for Thursday, November 26, 2009 from Box Office Mojo
  12. ^ a b "'Blind Side' tops 'New Moon' at box office" from Hollywood Reporter
  13. ^ "'Avatar' passes $300 million mark on Friday, and Sandra Bullock makes box-office history" from Hollywood Insider
  14. ^ Sports – Football Movies at the Box Office. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on January 23, 2011
  15. ^ Sports Drama Movies at the Box Office. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on January 23, 2011
  16. ^ Weekend Report: ‘Avatar’ Rocks New Year’s. Box Office Mojo (January 4, 2010). Retrieved on January 23, 2011.
  17. ^ End-of-Run Report: 'Blind Side,' 'Crazy Heart,' 'Runaways' Close. Box Office Mojo (June 6, 2010). Retrieved on January 23, 2011
  18. ^ "The Blind Side". Yahoo!. Retrieved July 23, 2010. 
  19. ^ 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. 
  20. ^ "The Blind Side (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved December 14, 2009. 
  21. ^ "The Blind Side: Reviews (2009)". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 26, 2009. 
  22. ^ http://www.thewrap.com/movies-you-loved-or-hated-films-got-or-f-cinemascores-photos-90331/10/
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ Melissa Anderson, The Blind Side: What Would Black People Do Without Nice White Folks?, 19 November 2009.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ 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. 
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ Nicole Sperling and Amy Kaufman, Oscars change rule for best-picture race, Los Angeles Times, June 16, 2011, accessed February 4, 2014.
  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]