Possibly the only recent movie to gross more than $200m that didn’t boast a vampire, Happy Meal or 3D specs, this slick, well-crafted heartwarmer delivers sermons, not surprises. But it’s a game-changer in its own way. It wraps a chick flick in a football jersey and steamrollers you through an uplifting, lightly tweaked true-life story with the force of a tackle from its 300lb hero.
This take-no-prisoners attitude extends to Sandra Bullock’s glossy, bossy, oscar-winning performance. As domineering Memphis interior decorator leigh Anne Tuohy she grabs her scenes by the throat, sheltering, tutoring, and even touchline-coaching ghetto teenager Michael Oher into astonishing success as a left tackle on his high-school football team. Not since Erin Brockovich has one woman, her Wonderbra and bad temper set about righting society’s wrongs so sassily.
There are a few things that wad your panties, primarily the fact that, unlike Precious, the film doesn’t put its black protagonist (Quinton Aaron) up front. Whisking him through a fairytale, family-fuelled transformation engineered by white folk, director John Lee Hancock keeps it strictly about the feel-good moments (life lessons, cute kids and football field triumphs).
Still, Bullock’s blast of a performance combines with the film’s big heart and its canny construction to sucker you in like a flea-flicker play – if you’re game enough.