Driving home with her family, no-nonsense Memphis belle Leigh Anne Tuohy (Bullock) stops to rescue a big, shy, baleful-looking puppy (Aaron) from the pouring rain.
His name is ‘Big Mike’, and he’s a classmate of her daughter Collins (played by Lily ‘daughter of Phil’ Collins). Abandoned long ago by his mother, Big Mike has no place to go.
Leigh Anne and her li’l boy Sean Jr (Jae Head) want to keep him. And, saint that he is, husband Sean (McGraw) has no objections. So before you can say “Whatchoo talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?”, Michael - as he prefers - becomes part of the Tuohy clan.
His files show that while he’s no genius, Michael is in the 98th percentile for “protective instincts”. Which puts Leigh Anne in the 100th percentile for “maternal instincts” and writer-director Hancock in the 101th percentile for “metaphorical instincts”.
You see, Michael’s sensitivities and size make him the perfect ‘left tackle’ (that’s the guy who keeps the quarterback from being pulverised by defenders). But when his coach struggles to explain the job in playbook terms, in steps Leigh Anne to say it’s just like protecting his family.
Helpfully, she already explained the role to us at the film’s beginning, over wince-making footage of the moment NY Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor put a new joint into Redskins quarterback Joe Thiesmann’s shin.
How the stories fit together is told in Lewis’s book, though as it was published in 2006, it doesn’t cover Oher’s rise to NFL glory with the Baltimore Ravens (he’s a right tackle now, but presumably quarterbacks have two blind sides).
Anyway, it’s a remarkable real-life example of luck and human kindness.