Sandra Bullock Blind Sides Atlanta (1)

The prologue to the warm-n-fuzzy sports story The Blind Side plays so well, it’s like seeing a team return an opening kickoff to score a touchdown. A Southern-accented Sandra Bullock narrates an insider’s perspective on the five fateful seconds that cost the Washington Redskins’ Joe Theismann his career. Michael Lewis’ book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game provides the film with tasty tidbits about football machinations on and off the field, but director John Lee Hancock fumbles the rags-to-riches story of Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron).

The film’s early scenes find mountainous Michael adrift in the impoverished corners of Memphis with a crack-addicted mother and no real home. When a Christian school bends the rules to enroll him, Michael attracts the notice of Leigh Anne Touhy (Sandra Bullock), the take-charge socialite wife of a fast-food mogul (Tim McGraw). Leigh Anne whisks Michael to the family McMansion and offers him clothes, a Thanksgiving invitation, and even a strategy for success on the gridiron.

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(Photo Courtesy Ralph Nelson/Warner Bros. Picture)