Run time: 129 mins
In Theaters: Friday 20th November 2009
Box Office USA: $255.5M
Box Office Worldwide: $460.6M
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Production compaines: Alcon Entertainment, Left Tackle Pictures, Zucker/Netter Productions
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
Fresh: 129 Rotten: 67
IMDB: 7.7 / 10
Director: John Lee Hancock
Screenwriter: John Lee Hancock
Starring: Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Touhy, Quinton Aaron as Michael Oher, Kathy Bates as Miss Sue, Tim McGraw as Sean Tuohy, Jae Head as S.J. Tuohy, Lily Collins as Collins Touhy, Ray McKinnon as Coach Burt Cotton, Kim Dickens as Mrs. Boswell, Adriane Lenox as Denise Oher, Catherine Dyer as Mrs. Smith, Sharon Morris as Investigator Granger, Andy Stahl as Principal Sandstrom, Tom Nowicki as Literature Teacher, Libby Whittemore as Sarcastic Teacher, Brian Hollan as Jay Collis, Melody Weintraub as History Teacher, IronE Singleton as Alton, Omar J. Dorsey as 'Big Tony' Hamilton, Paul Amadi as Steven Hamilton
Leigh Anne (Bullock) is a Memphis housewife with a fast-food magnate husband, Sean (McGraw), and two bright, witty kids (Head and Collins). Meanwhile, the hulking, black 17-year-old Mike (Aaron) has been admitted to her daughter's posh private school, and Leigh Anne takes an interest in him when she discovers that he's essentially homeless. Eventually he becomes part of the family, emerging from his shell after a lifetime of abuse and discovering that he has a skill for American football. Although he'll need a tutor (Bates) to improve his grades so he can play.
There's an intriguing mixture of politics at work here, although everything is softened to make it more palatable for mainstream moviegoers. Leigh Anne and Sean are defined as conservatives, yet tap into viewers' liberal guilt as they generously reach out to this needy kid. Certainly, the sight of Mike mixing with this family is packed with both light comedy and dark irony, and there are some pointed scenes along the way as Leigh Anne confronts her housewife friends' prejudice head on.
Bullock runs with this role, creating a strong, deeply religious woman with a big personality and the ability to think outside the box. It's a refreshing mixture that we rarely see on screen, and Bullock gets it just right. Her interaction with the terrific Aaron is earthy and natural, and her scenes with McGraw depict a realistic marriage, with hilarious throwaway lines and moments of emotion. So if it all gets a bit sentimental, we can almost forgive the filmmakers their indulgence: the story itself earns the tears.
In the end, this is hopefully the kind of movie that will inspire viewers to break out of their closed-in worlds to discover how they can help others in sometimes very simple ways (not everyone has to adopt a gigantic orphan). And while the film hedges around the grittier realities of Mike's background, it does admit that the size of society's failure is pretty enormous.