Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) is a traumatised, homeless young boy who, because of his sheer size, manages to convince the football coach of a christian private school to plead for his admission in said school. By coincidence, he then is found by Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock), whose kids are in that same school. Leigh Anne takes Michael in to live with her and her family and tries to facilitate his football career.
The troubling racial aspects of the story aside, the film isn’t even half as bad as I thought it would be. That doesn’t mean that it actually deserves all of the accolades it’s gotten, but it means that it’s watchable without going into a diabetic coma.
The movie has some very funny and some very sweet moments and of course there’s tear-jerking but Hancock manages to not let it all go overboard, which makes the movie rather entertaining without the audience feeling too much like they’re manipulated.
Sandra Bullock does a fine job (within seconds she had me disliking Leigh Anne, which would be probably the same reaction I’d have to real-life Leigh Anne, so good job! But with time, I came to – begrudgingly – respect her a lot), even though I still doubt (strongly) that it’s actually Oscar-worthy. Quinton Aaron, unfortunately, mostly fails to give his Michael more than one dimension – but the trouble here is not only the actor, but also the script. I’d say the biggest star of the film was Jae Head who steals everybody’s scenes.
If the film existed in a world without a history of racial tension and without the myth that coloured people are such poor things that need saving by white people [which is incredibly condescending, among other things], it might be more palatable.
But the biggest problem I had was Michael’s already mentioned one-dimensionality. I mean, he never gets more character than “he’s protective. Fiercely protective.” And since he’s the only PoC who is not a gangster/addict that’s not only bad writing, that comes dangerously close to being the “noble savage” all over again.
What they did handle exceptionally well though, was the encounter between Leigh Anne and Michael’s mum – props to that.
So, summarising: If you manage to blend out the racial stuff and don’t expect too much, you’re going to be well entertained.