There are so many things that could have gone wrong with "The Blind Side." What could have been a horribly cheesy, hard-to-swallow "Remember the Titans 2" turned out to be a viscerally engaging film about love, family and the importance of acceptance, and possibly the best film of Sandra Bullock’s career.

To put it plainly, this is the best film I’ve seen in a long time. There were points in this movie where the audience erupted into spontaneous applause. There were other times when I had to cover my face because I couldn’t stand to think of what might happen. And there were other triumphant moments when I gave a couple of hearty fist-pumps. I’m not saying I’m proud of it, I’m just saying it happened.

Directed by: John Lee Hancock
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron, Jae Head, Kathy Bates.
Seen at: Loews Boston Common
Rated: PG-13

This incredible true story follows Michael Oher, or "Big Mike," an intimidatingly large African-American teenager who has a rough past and very little to say about it. Through powerful flashbacks, we discover that Michael is on his own in this world and has been living a transient life, going from couch to couch in his friends’ homes.

He finds himself accepted into a prestigious private school in Memphis (the football coach made sure he got in) and is immediately ostracized because of his size and the color of his skin.

Leigh Ann Toughy (Sandra Bullock) picks Michael up off the street one night after school and without asking any questions, welcomes him into the Toughy home. Slowly, Michael becomes a part of the family and discovers what it means to be loved.

The Toughys are a ridiculously wealthy family whose two children attend Michael’s school, and they own "like, a million Taco Bells," according to the precocious and adorable S.J. Toughy.

Quinton Aaron, who plays Michael, does a superb job. His character is misunderstood, yet lovable, and he plays stupid in a very smart way. We immediately want the best for Michael, even though he barely speaks a full sentence throughout the movie. His expressions, his tears and his laughter speak volumes about his past, his heart and his thoughts.

S.J. Toughy (Jae Head) is a brilliant young actor with an incredible sense for comedic timing. Reminiscent of a young Macaulay Culkin, S.J. is the first kid at school to accept Michael, telling him the girls at school wouldn’t be so scared of him if he would just smile a little bit.

It would seem that Michael becomes S.J,’s constant companion and protector when it’s really S.J. teaching Michael about friendship, laughter and, most importantly, football. There are several heartwarming sequences where S.J. trains Michael until he eventually conquers on the field.

The second most compelling relationship in the film is that between Leigh Ann and Michael. Bullock plays a strong-minded southern belle, a no-nonsense mother and Michael Oher’s biggest fan. Leigh Ann, who is as tough as nails, advocates for Michael in every area of his life. She takes the boy who had one set of clothes and no place to stay and gave him a home, a new wardrobe, a new truck, a career, and most importantly, a family. The audience questions its presuppositions about race and poverty as Toughy challenges her own.

Admittedly, I rolled my eyes when I saw that Tim McGraw was going to be in this film. However, despite a bad hairpiece, McGraw delivered with the best of them, particularly in a scene where he’s studying with Michael and recites a poem.

And just when you think the movie couldn’t get any better, halfway through we get to see Kathy Bates, Michael’s motivating tutor. Bates is compelling though her part is small.

So, in the end, you should just go see "The Blind Side." You’ll be a better person for it.

About The Author

Brooklynne Kelly Peters is a Blast contributing editor

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