The Blind Side

Rated 4.0

Writer-director John Lee Hancock distills Michael Lewis’ book on the evolution of pro football into its basic human-interest angle: the story of NFL rookie Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), from his unpromising youth in Memphis, taken in by a kindhearted couple (Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw), to his first-round draft selection by the Baltimore Ravens. The story has enough heart-tugging warmth for half a dozen Frank Capra movies, and Hancock wrings it out expertly. He coaxes Bullock to her best performance in years and gets a star-making turn out of young Aaron. Aaron shows an exterior that those around him might take for dull-wittedness, but we see the intelligence behind his wary eyes. What seems like expressionlessness is really an amazing economy of expression; it’s as if we’re reading Michael Oher’s mind.