I experienced a bit of cognitive dissonance when they showed the real Michael Oher at the end of The Blind Side.
No, not because the young actor Quinton Aaron doesn't look much like the Ravens rookie offensive tackle—although he doesn't. But because the real Michael Oher walked with his head up—he had an athlete's gait, a quiet confidence. He wasn't the halting, shoe-gazing, nearly mute man-child depicted in the film.
No wonder it's rumored that Oher is not a fan of the film. It turned him into Forrest Gump.
And that, in a nutshell, is my problem with the film. There were pretty much two ways to do Oher's fascinating real-life story—as a teen, he was rescued from the streets of Memphis (his real mom was a junkie and his father was out of the picture) and ultimately adopted by a wealthy white family. You can dig deep, show the larger social and personal ramifications of this act of kindness, and the inevitable conflicts that arose. Or you can do a neatly scrubbed, sit-com ready, Disneyfied version of the events.
Guess which one this film...