The film is very explicit with Michael Oher’s troubled childhood. In the film, Michael was homeless and didn’t have a stable family structure. This is the shortened version of a very long and difficult childhood. Of course, the film had to cut it down because there’s only so much that can be covered in a two-hour film.
Oher did really have a difficult upbringing. He was neglected by his mother, Oher shared in an interview about his mother that “She wasn’t really around too much, I took care of myself most of the time.” He was one of twelve children. They grew up in a broken home in Hurt Village, a housing project located in crime-filled North Memphis. Oher’s father was in prison, where he ended up getting murdered. Michael didn’t learn of his father’s death until three months after it happened, in part because it took time for his father to be identified.
It’s no secret that "The Blind Side" was a major success. Moviegoers loved it, critics were relatively satisfied, and the film took home many awards and nominations. However, there was one person in particular who was left unhappy with the film’s outcome and it’s the most important person of all, the one whom without him, there wouldn't be a film at all.
Michael Oher couldn’t stand to watch the film. While actor Quinton Aaron gave a solid performance and Sandra Bullock a winning one as well, Oher felt that the film did not realistically depict his life. Not only did he feel like the movie didn’t really show who he was, but even worse than that, he felt like the movie had serious consequences for him and his career. Since the release of the film, Oher's career has taken a turn for the worse and he has been cut from two different teams in the past six years. In 2015, Michael told ESPN: “I’m not trying to prove anything. People look at me, and they take things away from me because of a movie. They don’t really see the skills and the kind of player I am. That’s why I get downgraded so much, because of something off the field. This stuff, calling me a bust, people saying if I can play or not … has nothing to do with football. It’s something else off the field. That’s why I don’t like that movie.”
Anybody who knows the real Michael Oher, knows that his character in real life is not quite like his character in the movie. While Aaron gave a good performance as an actor, the film didn't do the most accurate job at portraying the real Big Mike. So, it’s understandable why Michael Oher wasn’t so enthusiastic about the film.
While in the film, Michael’s character comes off as shy and reserved, in reality, Michael Oher is quite different than this. He is also good at laughing things off and not taking himself too seriously plus he does it all with a smile. This is very different than his detached and introverted character in the film. In an interview, Michael shared “I’ve always had that fire and passion in me on the field. You can’t put aggression into a person. It’s impossible. Either you have that toughness and aggression or you don’t.” His teammates have also graced him for his fun-loving nature and passion. Apparently, it was a much better sell for the movie's producers to paint a picture of this naive poor black teen who is timid.
When Oher Met the Tuohy Family
In the movie, the Tuohy family first meets Michael when he’s outside in the rain, soaking wet and freezing. They quickly form a relationship and Oher moves in with the family, quickly getting the opportunity for a fresh start. However, the real story wasn't as easy as that.
The Tuohy family did in fact see Michael Oher on the side of the road (in reality, this happened on a cold morning during Thanksgiving break and not at night like the movie shows). Leigh Anne and her husband saw Michael get off a bus in the snow dressed in cutoff jeans and a t-shirt. The day after seeing Michael outside in a t-shirt, Leigh Anne picked him up at Briarcrest and took him shopping. She later commented in an interview "I just think Michael needed somebody, and it was so evident that there was nobody in his life. It just broke my heart." So, in reality, Leigh Anne didn't offer Michael a place to stay right away and actually, it took months before the Tuohys welcome Michael into their home. During that time, Michael continued to stay with Tony Henderson (Big Tony) and at least five other families provided him with a place to stay when his coaches realized he didn't have a home. But, t he relationship with the Tuohy family took time to develop, and didn’t happen at the pace of a two-hour film. Michael Oher said, "When I moved in with Leigh Anne and Sean, I felt loved, like part of a family. In the other houses I didn't feel like part of the family. I didn't feel like they wanted me there."
Leigh Anne’s Day Job
The real Leigh Anne Tuohy worked as an interior designer. You may have caught on that in the film, Leigh Anne mentioned Patrick Ramsey as one of her clients. If you were wondering what these two facts have to do with one another, read on.
Leigh Anne Tuohy worked for the Washington Redskins quarterback. While this isn’t mentioned in the film, the reference she made about Patrick Ramsey wasn’t for nothing. It was a mention that only football fans would be able to figure out, and of course, those who are up to date on players’ home improvement plans. In reality, when it came time to dress the 300+ pound Michael, Leigh Anne contacted Patrick Ramsey. She gave Ramsey Michael's measurements and he called her back a few days later telling her she got the measurements wrong. When she told him that she had taken the measurements herself and maybe Patrick got them wrong, Patrick read them back to her. Nope, he had them right. “There’s no one on our team as big as he is,” Ramsey said.