It struck me when I first saw the trailer for John Lee Hancock‘s The Blind Side (Warner Bros., 11.20), an adaptation of Michael Lewis‘s 2006 book “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game,” that it seemed like a more affluent, white-middle-classy, economically upbeat version of Lee Daniels‘ Precious.
The rough shorthand is that both are about compassion and nurturing offered to a young African American — an obese female teen in Precious, a mountain-sized homeless teenaged male in the Hancock film — grappling with poverty and self-esteem issues that would choke a horse.
Based on a true story, The Blind Side is primarily about a good samaritan — a middle-aged Republican/Christian wife and mom named Leigh Anne Toulhy (Sandra Bullock) — who takes in the homeless Micheal Oher (Qunton Aaron) — 16 years old, 78 inches tall, weighing 350 pounds — and gets him enrolled in a Memphis-based Christian school, which quickly leads to opportunities to play college football. Oher is now an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens.
So Hancock’s film is mainly about goodness and charitableness shown by well-to-do white folk in a well-heeled environment, while Precious is set in modest, down-at-the-heels (in some cases squalid) Harlem locales, and is pretty much an African-American tale about African-American characters and culture. But they’re both about coming to the rescue of damaged youths, and good people extending a hand.
No one seems to have written about The Blind Side except L.A, Times columnist Patrick Goldstein, who called it a “wonderful new film” in a column posted yesterday. With the film opening in two and a half weeks and no one else saying anything just yet, it may be that Goldstein is himself being compassionate. I’m told it’s not Best Picture material, but that Bullock registers quite strongly and convincingly as Toulhy.
I do know that Hancock is a first-rate director (The Rookie being one of my all-time favorite G-rated films) and if it turns out to be a truly heartwarming thing…well, let’s see.
Here’s a video of Lewis talking about Oher’s story: