This morning I saw The Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock and Quinton Aaron.
The story is filled with all sorts of characters that would seem unappealing: society wives, stereotypical African Americans, likable republicans, annoying children, etc. But the remarkable thing is that it works.
Big Mike (Aaron) is a from-the-streets neglected teenager who is granted a private school education due to the persuasion of a football coach. His grades are awful, his social skills are non-existent and no one, save for one obligatory teacher, seems to be on his side.
Enter Leanne Tuohy (Bullock), the mother of two students at Big Mike's school and a respected member of Memphis high society. As her family is driving home from a school play one chilly night, she sees Big Mike walking down the street in shorts and a T-shirt. She forces her husband to stop the car (sidenote: whatever she wants, her husband apparently delivers) and offers the young man their couch for a night. He reluctantly accepts and ends up spending the Thanksgiving holiday with the family.
When they realize he has no where else to go, they invite him to live in their guest room, where he is presented with the first bed he's ever owned. Yes, it's a tear jerker.
Basically, the entire movie centers around Leanne's (uncharacteristically) selfless actions and Michael's secretive, troubled past. Both parties are understandably slow to trust one another, but somehow the love that surfaces takes care of that.
Because this is based on a true story, I cut it some slack for being unapologetic in its sappiness. I found myself tearing up about every 15 or 20 minutes, but that was okay because I knew what I was in for when I bought the ticket. Boy needs home, boy gets home, boy plays football.
The film is very predictable (because the audience will wonder why the movie was made if things didn't turn out well), but when the acting is as good as it is here, it's not hard to stay with the scenes and enjoy the way they unfold.
Sophisticated drama this is not, but if you need a dose of your faith in humanity renewed, you could do worse than this film.
I'm glad there are real people out there like Leanne Tuohy, and I didn't mind spending a few hours with her character.