Thursday, June 17, 2010
Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side
Sandra Bullock received her first nomination and won the Little Golden Guy for playing Leigh Anne Touhy, a conservative, rich and controlling Southern woman adopting a homless black boy, who turns out to be a real sport talent. And naturally Leigh Anne offers everything she can until the very-very surprising and shocking ending (kidding).
The Blind Side is a rather dumb movie and when I realised that it was nominated for Best Picture I was incredibly shocked and furious. I could understand Sandra's nomination but the movie itself was way behind it's competition. I guess Bullock's popularity led the movie to the nomination. The screenplay is so sentimental and unrealistic, that it makes it truly hard to believe that this is actually a true story. I don't want to be cynical, but this is a true American (male) cinderella story, the rich men's Precious. The acting is also so-so at best, except for the always reliable Sandra Bullock (and maybe Kathy Bates in her brief role).
Now, if you think that I'm gonna say as many bad things about Sandra Bullock as I can, then you can easily be wrong. I would not say that she's talented, but has a natural charm and in my opinion was born to become a rom-com queen. For example, she almost does miracles with these movies, see The Proposal, While You Were Sleeping or Miss Congeniality. These are entertaining, relaxing flicks, which are perfect on a Sunday evening on TV or on a hot summer day in a cold movie theatre. However, this defintitely DOESN'T equal an Oscar. At least not with me.
Yet, most of the problems of this performance are due to the previously mentioned terrible screenplay. Nobody could be able to give life to those cheesy and corny lines, nobody could have been brilliant with such bad actors (except for Kathy Bates of course) and the lame directing. So we can say actually that Sandra saves this movie for being a disaster, but she doesn't give enough to make this movie great. I have the same feeling when I watch her that I felt while watching Loretta Young in The Farmer's Daughter. Some great moments, but the whole thing is more of mediocore.
The directing does not help her either. In her first scene, we see her yelling with her exaggerated Southern accent (it gets a bit softer as the movie goes on) and you immediately resist this performance. It begins as annoying and if you don't watch it at least twice (I know it's a torture), you will hardly find anything to like in her. But since I'm crazy and a real Oscar nerd, I have seen this movie three times and at a third viewing, I found some very good things about this performance.
First of all, there's Bullock's natural charm, which always works (at least with me), and after a while she injects some humor and irony into this humorless character. Bullock knows perfectly well what to do, when and how. We can say, that she's a craftsperson. She doesn't give a true depth to her character, but she makes them at least human and entertaining. And I was entertained by her quite often.
There are some scenes though which she can't deal with, for example the one when she's looking for Michael, she was not credible enough for me. I could not feel her desperation or something else (but again this is also the screenplay's fault). Although these mistakes are not very severe, the ruin the overall picture a bit. Nevertheless, Bullock's comedy skills help her a great deal.
But then a question comes up: does being charming and entertaining equal an Oscar win? And the answer is a very quick no. However, had she only been nominated, I would have been OK with it, I just can't understand this Oscar, even though it's much better than the other so-called "star-crowning" wins. I had some problems how I should rate her, because sometimes she's a very strong four, but sometimes she's only a weak two. I guess I'll be generous and use mathematics to rate Ms. Bullock.
So I'm waiting for the comments where you can share your thoughts and pick who should be the next reviewed lady.