The Blind Side

Where do I begin? This delightful biography works on so many levels it's hard to decide. Let me explain: This movie is based on the book The Blind Side: The Evolution of the Game by Michael Lewis, about NFL tackle Michael Oher and his unlikely success story.

This desperately poor, over-sized, under-educated kid is accepted into a private Christian high school after a coach challenges the faculty to "act like Christians." This was done with no irony, just a straightforward statement that left no room for dissent. After that, the problem for the staff was to find a teaching method that would work for this gentle giant. At no time is the fact of religious conviction treated as a cause for derision. I found that refreshing.

Our youngster is spotted walking alone on a cold November night by Leigh Anne Tuohy and her husband Sean. This wealthy couple takes him home and offers him shelter for the night. He is quietly grateful and unfailingly polite. Leigh Anne is, both in real life and in this movie, a force of nature, beautifully played here by Sandra Bullock ("Crash" and "The Proposal"), who boasts a mild Tennessee sound, not one of those corny overdone twangs that makes us cringe. Country music superstar Tim McGraw ("Flicka" and "Friday Night Lights") has never been more appealing or natural as her loving, wryly supportive husband. Their daughter Collins is played by Lily Collins in this, her first movie role.

Now we come to S.J. (Sean Junior): The boy who plays him, Jae Head ("Hancock" and LOTS of TV) threatens to walk off with the movie by himself! There is never a moment that looks faked; he throws himself into every scene with conviction and verve. What a great, great little actor! Although the movie itself has a LOT of humor, S.J. adds even more. We're always happy to see that freckled face on the screen.

Quinton Aaron ("Be Kind Rewind" and "Mr. Brooklyn"), the young man who plays our hero in this heartwarming little gem, is perfectly cast. In fact, during the final credits, they intersperse photos of the real Tuohy family, which include their adopted son Michael, and it is remarkable how well each person was cast.

Kathy Bates ("Revolutionary Road") has a key role as a tutor, and you'll get a kick out of seeing all those college coaches play themselves during the recruiting frenzy.

No sweaty bodies, no car chases, no blowie uppie stuff (although there is one startling car wreck); just a movie that illustrates man's humanity to man. Yes, I enjoyed it and hope you do, too.