Sandra Bullock’s solid, respectable, but unremarkable performance in The Blind Side is much less interesting than her coming up against Gabourey Sidibe in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire in the Oscars for actress in a leading role as the two films have so much in common, while offering such very different perspectives on the world.
While Precious is unremittingly grim in its realism, The Blind Side strives to be uplifting and largely succeeds. But as the latter film ends with Bullock’s voice over asking us to think of all the other black kids ‘with athletic ability’ still stuck in the ghetto, the thinking viewer surely asks: ‘Yeah, what of them? (And is sport all young black Americans should aspire to?)’
It’s great that Michael Oher was rescued by some very nice rich people. He was very lucky. Statistically he stood a greater chance of winning the lottery. Good was done, but it was a fleeting good that helped one person, heartily congratulated itself and moved on.
Precious certainly cops for far more than her fair share of tragedy: an abusive single mother, incest, a disabled child, HIV/Aids and other bullying. Yet somehow, her story rings truer because we see the progression and her rescue, when it comes, is rather limited.
Inevitably, The Blind Side is destined to reach more people. It’s a great story well told. A feel good movie if you don’t think too much, it is ultimately conservative. Precious is the film for radicals who believe in real change of substance.