Ralph Nelson
Chris Nashawaty
March 24, 2010 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Blind Side

Current Status
In Season
125 minutes
Wide Release Date
Quinton Aaron, Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Kathy Bates
John Lee Hancock
Warner Bros.
John Lee Hancock
Sports, Drama

We gave it a B+

In the seemingly endless run-up to this year’s Academy Awards, the narrative swirling around Sandra Bullock was that, after two decades in the business, she finally dared to stretch beyond her comedic comfort zone and would be rewarded for it. The argument never really made sense. After all, The Blind Side wasn’t Bullock’s first flirtation with dramatic, capital-A acting. Sure, she may have become a star — the original girl-next-door heir to Julia Roberts — cracking wise in 1994’s Speed, but she also dug deep in 2000’s underrated rehab drama 28 Days, 2005’s Oscar winner Crash, and 2006’s Truman Capote biopic Infamous. And though playing it straight has occasionally backfired (2006’s schmaltzy reunion with Keanu Reeves, The Lake House, comes to mind), you could argue that had more to do with her choices than her talent. Either way, in The Blind Side, both finally come together in a performance that, well, blindsides you. As Leigh Anne Tuohy, the brassy, down-home Memphis mom who takes in an African-American kid (Quinton Aaron) and brings out the gentle soul buried beneath years of pain and neglect, Bullock is more winning and alive than she’s ever been. Even during the film’s more manipulative moments, she’s never less than perfect. As for EXTRAS, there are four deleted scenes that could have easily made the final cut. B+

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