With Oscar season not far behind us and the 2009 US release date of The Blind Side all but a distant memory, UK audiences can finally get up to speed and see what all the fuss has been about! Best Actress Oscar winner Sandra Bullock knocked out rivals Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Carey Mulligan and Gabourey Sidibe to be crowned Best Actress in a Leading Role.

Without a doubt Bullock deserved this win and fans of feel-good Sports movies will not be disappointed with her portrayal of the charming, sassy, inspirational, bolshy and at times vulnerable white, upper-class middle-aged mum. Her performance and stunning transformation is nothing short of perfection. Some might say this is Bullock’s “Erin Brockovich” and you’ll soon see why. Far removed from her ‘Rom-Com’ days of “Speed” and “Miss Congeniality”, Bullock’s depiction of the real Leigh Anne Tuohy is hard-hitting, fiercely charming, savvy and most importantly very real. Not only does she look the part, but she nails the part of the unapologetic, right-wing Southern Socialite flawlessly too.

The heart of this true story “packs” a mean punch as it quickly thrusts teenager Michael Oher’s (Quinton Aaron) plight onto us in the most heart-wrenching of ways. Abandoned by his drug-addict mother in the poverty-stricken projects of Memphis, Oher is faced with unimaginable challenges in order to survive his virtually homeless and lonely existence. After a random encounter late one cold dreary night with the Tuohy family, Oher is whisked back to their home whilst Leigh Anne Tuohy makes a life-changing decision to seize the opportunity to make a positive difference to Oher’s life.

In doing so, the entire Tuohy family come to learn that by embracing Oher into their lives, it is they who end up learning and benefiting the most. This self-revelation is the driving force of this sensitive story and the obstacles faced in order to fulfill Oher’s dream of a career playing football. The sports action sequences are riveting and gritty, and Bullock’s sideline quips will keep you amused and enthused throughout.

A stellar feature-film debut performance for Aaron whose career will undoubtedly be given a much-deserved boost. Aaron’s portrayal of Oher as the 6ft 4 misfit is just so endearing. Akin to a beautifully big, huggable teddy-bear you can’t help but feel your heart melt with his doe-eyed, sweet looks – perfect casting on John Lee Hancock’s part. Tim McGraw (Friday Night Lights), Kathy Bates (Misery) and Ray McKinon also feature with solid performances all-round. Playing the brother/sister roles of S.J and Collins Tuohy are rising stars Jae Head and Lily Collins. Offering many timely comic-relief moments throughout the storyline, Head’s Culkin-esque performance in particular will have you in fits of laughter.

The Blind Side earns it place at the top with the likes of the exceptionally great “Rudy” and crowd-pleasing “Remember The Titans” and proves once and for all that a Sports movie can succeed without relying on emotionally manipulative clichés to engage the viewer. The chemistry between the cast members is perfect and the storyline offers the right balance between dramatic climax and clever comedy relief.

An irresistibly feel-good and charming film which cannot be praised highly enough for it’s beautiful production and attention to detail in the writing. An exceptionally executed piece all-round, this film is funny and this film is smart. It drives the underlying gesture of kindness to a socially conscious level. What starts out simply as an “every good turn deserves another” film quickly evolves into something far more intuitive and revealing. You’d be hard-pressed not to be moved by this truly insightful journey of self-discovery.

The Blind Side is released nationwide on March 26th. Here’s the trailer – check it out!