At first, I really wanted to watch Avatar in 3D. I feared that having been released in the Philippines before the Metro Manila Film Festival, by the time we were back home from the States, we’d no longer be able to catch it in local cinemas. But then, thinking about the 3D thingamajig and how it may be a bit too dizzying for, um, some of us, my sister gently nudged us into watching The Blind Side.
All we knew about The Blind Side was that Sandra Bullock was starring in it and that it was a sleeper hit. Reason enough to go see the movie in our book.
We chose to watch the mid-afternoon screening. We arrived rather early, the drive to the cinema not taking more than 10 minutes I think. Good thing, though; the queue in front of the food concessionaire was a wee-bit kilometric. The food was worth the wait: the tub of MEDIUM popcorn and MEDIUM drink were enough to feed our entire family of five.
But what the concessionaires ought to be selling was Kleenex, and loads of it, especially if you are to watch The Blind Side.
So why is The Blind Side worth your time?
It speaks of the universal theme of the triumph of the human spirit but said in the language of American football. Listen carefully to the narration at the beginning because it sets the literal and figurative premise of the story. I think I understand enough football now to actually be interested in the Super Bowl. Or score a touchdown. Or avoid being tackled. Or not. But I digress.
You can look at the film as the (re-)telling of the story of your typical poor, underprivileged kid getting a break courtesy of a white savior; but that would be a great disservice to the film makers and actors. The film is definitely, definitely more than that.
It is about talent housed in an unlikely vessel: Big Mike and superior athletic skills, both unpolished, yet tiny shafts of glistening hope shine through the muck and the grime of life lived in a dysfunctional household.
It is about taking chances: a coach with an untested prodigy, a child with a friendless gentle giant, your stereotypical socialite with a stereotypical rejected, dejected teen.
It is about family, replete with a doting mom, a permissive father, a happily obtrusive younger brother, and slow-to-warm-up sister, and how one cannot live with them but cannot live without them.
It is about opportunity: how an initial look, a second glance, a third chance, and an infinite hope in humanity in general and genuine care and concern for one person in particular can spell the difference between life soaked in drugs or life lived amidst adoring fans and schools falling over themselves trying to get you to grace their football fields.
It is about hard work, doggedness, tenacity: to play the cards dealt by life; to shatter the glass ceiling of money, skin color, and societal expectations; to remain true to oneself while trying to become a better version of you.
It is a believable story that is a version of any viewer’s life struggles, set to motion by a collage of aptly cast actors and simple but stabbing one-liners. Sandra Bullock is a a little disconcerting as a blonde but she is (re-)revelation, wonderfully immersed and hardly visible under the veneer of Leigh Anne Tuohy. Quinton Aaron plays Big Mike so well you’d want to bring him home and adopt him yourself.
Watch The Blind Side and see how anything, everything is possible- even if hope seems out of sight.