I'm a sucker for feel good sports stories. About a year and a half ago I heard about Michael Oher and read Michael Lewis's wonderful book titled The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game. I followed Oher's career in his final year at Ole Miss and cheered as he was drafted in the 2009 Draft in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens.
Well, I was excited when I learned that The Blind Side would be made into a movie. Opening day today in most U.S. Cities. This morning, I went to the first showing and I will be the first to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Warning: The movie will not win any Oscars or Golden Globes. But it does remain true to the story - something not always a given in movie versions of books. The movie like the book pulls at the heartstrings and provides great moments of comedic relief.
cross posted at The Progressive Electorate
This is Sean and Leigh Ann Tuohy who took Michael in and helped him find his way. They would become his legal guardians.
I wrote about Oher and his story during last year's draft. Here's an excerpt
My reason for wanting to write about Oher is that this is a feel-good story. Amidst all of the bad going on in the world and especially in our country, this story proves that common decency and dreams still exist. In a world where we politicize everything this story is a great break from the hate and the partisanship.
Oher had this to say in a recent interview with USA Today
They've got big hearts," Oher says. "To take somebody from my neighborhood into your house? Nobody does that. I don't think I'd even do that. I'd help you out, but with a daughter and with all the violence and drugs where I come from ... they didn't have to do that. I owe a lot to them."
Many sports movies based on true stories have to embellish facts to make it more Hollywood. The producers of The Blind Side knew that they had a good story ready made and did a great job keeping it in perspective.
Michael Lewis is a great writer and phenomenal storyteller. In Blind Side he tells a number of converging stories including: The evolution of the offensive lineman, nature vs nurture, class inequality and the good in people. The movie does a good job touching on all these themes. I would also suggest reading Lewis's Moneyball and Liar's Poker.
I do not want to ruin the book or the movie. The story is well known and something you should familiarize yourself with before seeing the movie. I would recommend reading the book first. A lot of the backstory, especially that of Oher's discovered childhood, is left out in the movie due to time constraints.
Overall I give the movie and 8 out of 10. I'm not the harshest critic, but I do like sports movies. This does not rise to the ranks of a Hoosiers or a Remember the Titans for me, but it's in the second tier. Unlike most sports movies, it's not about the team's achievement. Yet, this is a movie that inspires and provides a number of teachable moments. However, make sure that you do read the book.