Drama me this, Melodrama me that!
Tragic stories in movies can either miss their goal of touching people in a certain way or fail miserably, just like humor. If they’re told in over 2 hours, the risk is even higher to bore the audience. Social criticism, milieu studies are many, especially in German cinema combined with lots of overacting, actors screaming at each other, which after a while just don’t cut it anymore in the melodramatic department.
Simple, but true story
In case of The Blind Side, the story about Michael Oher, a boy brought up or rather living homeless in an unfriendly, unloving environment in the streets of Memphis and getting “adopted” by a well-to-do upper-class family is simple, but works in many ways better than overcomplicated relationship-stories in which too many characters interact. It’s told in a very quiet manner, slowly paced but not boring. The audience doesn’t get too much information about the boy’s past (which in other movies usually results in long monologues), but gets to know him with time like the family does.
This is in no small part due to Quinton Aaron’s performance as the traumatized boy who portrays him first as some slow thinker and later as a very compassionate person, and Sandra Bullock as Leigh Ann Tuohy, the surrogate mother, who at the beginning seems like a snobby business woman, but who shows her human side pretty soon.
The other characters are a bit like fillers necessary to help the upcoming star Football player in his learning process at school and integration into society.
Value systems which aren’t empty
The movie’s main concern is with Oher’s development, learning about family, friendship, relationships and their values. This might all sound a bit too American at first glance, and the American sports references are not always seen through that easily for the uninitiated, but at its core, The Blind Side is a touching movie which might have done without some scenes to make it shorter, but overall tells its based-on-a-real-story in a tranquil and very special way few dramas achieve.
What the movie does also quite well is that race issues don’t so much get in the foreground which would have made the material less potent. There are certainly some scenes which deal with that, but how Oher’s new family deals with the situation and treats him, is simply a very touching example of human interaction which should be exemplary and not seen as another one of those American family movies which are so many these days (even though it’s more entertaining watching them than the umpteenth version of German Broken-Family-Society melodramas on TV and sometimes the big screen).
Parental guidance failed…at least in Germany…again
Only some final words to the German BD I reviewed: The picture/sound quality is of course very good because it’s a new movie, but what I found a bit strange (again) was how this movie got a 6+ age rating. Not only is the subject matter highly unsuitable for kids of that age (drug abuse, depression, racism, guns), there are some scenes which even I found disturbing and violent. Those are few and not much is shown explicitly, but it again poses the question for me: If we have a recommendation (oh no, it’s actually forced) for parents to find out if a movie is suitable for their children, at least the FSK should REALLY think about their guide lines (if they have any) before putting their label on a movie which is far from what you’d usually expect from an 6+ rating. Oh well, let’s see if they were right with the Stephen King adaptation Stand By Me which has murder in it as well. Job badly done, congrats…NOT.