Based on a True Story
The film The Blind Side is based on a true story.
Michael Lewis first wrote the book, The Blind Side – Evolution of
a Game, to tell the extraordinary story of National Football
League player Michael Oher. It was so gripping and inspirational
that John Lee Hancock decided to adapt it for a film. The book
had many details about Michael Oher’s life, but only some of
them could fit into a film. The director Hancock had to choose
which details to leave out.
One of the decisions Hancock made was to focus on the
relationship between Michael and his adoptive mother Leigh
Anne Tuohy. The effect of this is to downplay both the details
of Michael's shockingly deprived childhood – though this was
partly because Michael himself refuses to talk about it – and the
huge contribution made to his welfare by Leigh Anne's husband
Hancock said,
“After I read the book I realised that while sports are a
major part of the story, there is also a very unconventional
mother-son relationship. I was intrigued by this strong
woman character, the mother who took in a boy she didn’t
even know.”
In another interview, he said,
“What gripped me was Leigh Anne and Michael, and their
affection for one another. I kept thinking that Michael and
Leigh Anne were alike. They didn't look backwards, always
Your notes
The film is based on the
story of
who is a
The director of the film
He focussed on
Michael had a
His adoptive father is
Hancock recognised that
Leigh Anne Tuohy and
Michael Oher both
Critical reviews
The Blind Side is an extremely likable film where good
triumphs over evil, determination and hard work bring their
just rewards and a single individual can make a difference to
Alan Hunter, Express UK
… almost overnight he is being absorbed into the family,
which has not only an open heart and an open mind, but a
serious obsession with football, Ole Miss in particular. What
happens next is a testament to the unique people that both
Leigh Anne and Michael are. As she begins to piece together
the depressing back story of his life, he begins to trust that
she will be there for him. These are emotional colours not
easy to get to, but they happen here in moving ways because
of the chemistry between Bullock and Aaron. She infuses the
role with empathy, not pity; he brings an aching vulnerability
and an innocence that are remarkable for someone with no
formal training.
Betsy Sharkey, L.A. Times
Adapted from Artemis Resource
Four themes of the film
After the First Viewing
Answer these questions after the first viewing. They are a good guide as to what to look for as you study
the film more closely.
How did the film make you feel? Did it make you think?
How were your opinions or attitudes changed or reinforced by the film?
Which characters did you empathise with? dislike? feel sorry for?
1. What does the film title mean?
2. What are the physical qualities that Michael has that make him so sought after by college
3. What personal quality does he have that makes him initially ineffective on the football field?
4. When Leigh Anne visits Michael's mother, Denise Oher says that the welfare people called
Michael "a runner". What does she mean by that and what does it show about Michael? Why
does he not run away from the Tuohy home?
Adapted from Artemis Resource
The New York Times' film critic A.O. Scott describes The Blind Side as 'a movie made up
almost entirely of turning points and yet curiously devoid of drama or suspense'.
5. How many 'turning points' can you identify? Do you agree that the film lacks 'drama' and
'suspense'? If so, what substitutes for these qualities?
6. Michael is enrolled at Wingate along with Steven Hamilton, but we don't see Steven again after
scene 9. Why is that?
7. Leigh Anne could get to be really annoying – she is bossy and always right – but the character
avoids this. How is it done?
8. When one of Leigh Anne's friends says, "You are changing that boy's life," she replies, "No. He's
changing mine." In what way does Michael change her life?
9. What is the function in the film of Alton, the gang leader?
Adapted from Artemis Resource
Film techniques show how the story is told
When we watch a film for the first time, we usually watch for the story; when we see it again, we are
more likely to notice how the story is told. However, you may already have noticed some of the
striking techniques used.
Fill this chart with notes of interesting techniques you remember seeing.
Action, dialogue
Setting, costume
Work with the person beside you to fill up the gaps.
Adapted from Artemis Resource
Camera work,
Sound effects,
Initial Quiz
See how many of the following questions you can answer after the first viewing. Some of the
questions are minor, some are more significant. Your score will indicate whether you notice
and remember details.
1. What is the name of the area in which Michael grew?
2. Why was he taken away from his mother?
3. How old was he when this happened?
4. Who became his legal guardians at this time?
5. Why does he get enrolled at Wingate School?
6. What three things characterise Wingate as a school?
7. In what area did Michael test in the 98th percentile?
8. What kind of shirts does Michael choose when Leigh Anne takes him shopping?
9. What is Leigh Anne's job?
10. What is Sean Tuohy's job?
11. What sport does Collins play?
12. What sport did Sean play at college?
13. What sport did Leigh Anne do?
14. What does SJ say about this?
15. What does SJ's name mean?
16. What does Michael tell Leigh Anne he doesn't like to be called?
17. Michael says to Leigh Anne, "I never had one before". To what is he referring?
18. Why does Michael want a driver's licence?
19. What happens before he is able to get one?
20. From what does Michael protect SJ and prevent serious injury?
21. Who is hired to tutor Michael so he can improve his grades?
22. What grade point average does Michael need for a football scholarship?
23. What grade average does he achieve?
24. Which college do the Tuohys support?
25. What term is used for wealthy supporters of their colleges?
Adapted from Artemis Resource