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The Blind Side

The Blind Side is so purposefully painful a model of hair ruffling crass manipulation that every horrific signposted moment of it is like being hugged by an annoyingly winsome inebriated retard.

Sandra Bullock, who merely had to stay awake to convey her likable self and get an Oscar here, is a kind of self-delusionally less exciting post-Sex And The City hockey mom. Her kids are Stepford Kids, her husband is far too agreeable. They would all blow away if the weather wasn’t Hollywood spotless. Bullock, though, is the cheery, no-mess no-fuss face of arrogant, Palinesque derring-do, a talker and a doer, a right to all society’s wrongs, and a Liberal Republican to boot. She was born in a fictional vacuum and she will die there, with all her make-up and soul resolutely unblemished. She’s a whirlwind Everywoman (literally: all the good bits, with not an ounce of flab, regret, uncertainty, doubt or timidity) and she will, aided by her ridiculously tolerant, malleable family, take on whatever she feels like. We find her as she feels like taking on a giant, homeless black kid. It’s raining, he’s wet, it’s dark, they have a big house so he gets the couch. It’s all very admirable. He doesn’t nick the telly and the blankets are all neatly folded in the morning. Maybe this kid’s worth getting behind? Maybe he’ll come good?

Particularly if he shows some kind of…latent talent? The signs from the American Football field are good: he’s terrible. If he was naturally brilliant, the film would be over already or would go the other way; he would fritter his new opportunity and end up in jail, only to find God and then…and so on. This is the other model, the reverse version, where he starts out all humbly useless and dumb and ends up, with a little help from his new friends and a bit of self-belief, becoming a real asset to the local team. He Turns. His Life. Around. Today is the first day of the rest of his life. I didn’t change him…he changed me. I walked right into the ghetto and told them scary black kids what was what with a bit of sass and nonchalance. These kids would do good if only a rich white American woman with too much time on her hands would only take one on as an individual pet project.

Anyway, things go as you know they will go, so continuing with plot appraisal is pointless. This review then, is a rhetorical plea: these films can still work without working us over. We are intelligent beings. We can take a bit of unpredictability: we know the big dolt with the bigger heart is going to win, we don’t even mind that, necessarily. Perfunctory direction aside, the whole thing could’ve been cast, shot, edited, canned and shrink-wrapped by a machine. The human element, the very thing that this dire piece of cinema tepidly rides, is nowhere to be seen.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Mary
    April 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Thanks for a very funny review Lee. Yours was a noble act – seeing this film on behalf of the rest of us and forking out for the ticket too. This film was trailed recently in `Les Baladins’ mutiplex in Lannion ( very comfortable – highly recommended should you be passing…) My toes and everything else was curling after the first ten seconds. I couldn’t believe that something so utterly cheesy could still be made. Was there any response from the black community? As you say , Sandra Bullock is sheer Palin and she won an Oscar for it – which is slightly worrying for the next presidential contest…. Name me one film where’s she’s played anything but the plucky go-getter. I suppose with that cutely carved nose she’s never going to be anything else. Yuck yuck yuck.

    • Lee Monks
      April 14, 2010 at 11:49 am

      I will visit ‘Les Baladins’ one day, I am sure of it! The Blind Side really is off a production line that should’ve been shut down years ago, but they make tons of moolah so fat chance unfortunately. It’s so lazy…the shorthand involved and the assumed goodwill. Alas. Eventually, we will discover that a parallel world exists where this kind of nonsense is reality and we watch a series of disappointing, glum, occasionally hopeful films at our local cinemas. Please, Mary, save your money – you’ve already seen this disaster countless times. Life’s too short!!

  2. November 4, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Sandra Bullock is one the greatest actress in my opnion, she plays a lot of different roles ”

    • November 12, 2010 at 10:21 am

      I like Bullock! Just not most of her half-arsed films. Even Crash, if you watch it again, is painfully bad.

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