When a movie claims to be "based on a true story," those who actually know the story tend to greet the film with some apprehension. But in
The rags-to-riches theme works, of course, because it is real. Oher went from scary beginnings to the NFL, and he would not have made it without the generosity and love of
I was fortunate enough to meet the Tuohys during filming this summer, and both
The sports scenes meet the challenge of focusing on a left tackle -- no easy task. But as a football fan, I was left wanting more about how Oher learned the game and his difficulties overcoming inexperience. As the trailer shows, Leigh Anne interrupts practice one day to teach Oher what he needs to do, after which point he goes out and dominates. It's good for a laugh, but seeing how Oher truly began to tap into his vast potential -- one of the central themes of his story -- would have satisfied more.
Likewise, cameos by
But Hancock knows his focus, and he delivers most when exploring the relationship between the future NFL first-round pick and his new family. Potential conflicts abound -- the Tuohys' two biological children, the Tuohys' friends, the NCAA after Oher signs at Sean and Leigh Anne's alma mater -- but the film tackles them all, and the love that helped these people shines through on screen.
The movie inspires (my wife had Christmas boxes packed for needy families the next day) as much as it entertains. Lewis' book delivered a blueprint to Hancock for a feel-good story, and it does indeed feel good when you walk out of the theater. Oher protects his quarterback's blind side, and the talented Hancock protected a motivational story by sticking to a real-life script written by a caring family and a blessed athlete. The pieces were in place for a memorable movie from the start; Hancock put them together.