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The Blind Side quickly became a cultural phenomenon after it was released in 2009 — and now, the film has made its way back into the news more than a decade later amid the real-life Michael Oher‘s scathing accusations against the family who took him in.

The touching sports drama stars Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw as the rich, white parents who take in a homeless Black teenager and redirect his life’s trajectory. It ultimately raked in more than $300 million, as well as a Best Picture nomination and Best Actress win for Bullock at the 2010 Oscars.

So, what is the plot of The Blind Side? Is it based on a true story?

Luckily, we have all the answers to your burning questions. Keep reading for more information.

What is the plot of The Blind Side?

The Blind Side follows the story of 17-year-old Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), who has been living in different foster homes until the wealthy Tuohy family takes him into their own home and later choose to become his legal guardians. The family’s strong-willed matriarch Leigh Anne Tuohy (Bullock), her husband Sean (Tim McGraw) and their two children work to nourish Oher’s undeniable football talent, help him improve his grades, and guide him toward a college acceptance.

While the film earned plenty of awards recognition, it has also been criticized for its white savior plot, which has been accused of playing into racial stereotypes and depicts the Tuohys as the ones solely responsible for Oher’s success.

Photo: Everett Collection

Is The Blind Side based on a true story?

Yes, The Blind Side is based on the true story of Oher, who was eventually picked up by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft. His life from homelessness to pro-football player was previously documented in Michael Lewis’ book of the same name. However, like most Hollywood movies, certain details are dramatized.

For instance, Oher previously took issue with the film’s portrayal of his athletic knowledge. While the Tuohy family teaches him football in the movie, the real-life Oher was already on the basketball, track and field, and football teams by the time they took him under their wing.

“Quinton Aaron did a great job acting the part but I could not figure out why the director chose to show me as someone who had to be taught the game of football,” Oher wrote in his memoir I Beat the Odds. “Whether it was S.J. moving around ketchup bottles or Leigh Anne explaining to me what blocking is about, I watched those scenes thinking, ‘No, that’s not me at all! I’ve been studying — really studying — the game since I was a kid!’ That was my main hang-up with the film.”

What is Michael Oher accusing the Tuohy family of lying about?

Oher recently claimed the central element to the story — that the Tuohy family adopted him — was all a big lie. He alleged in a petition filed on Monday (Aug. 14) that they instead duped him into making them his conservators shortly after he turned 18, thus “enriching themselves” at his expense — something he only found out about earlier this year.

In an interview with The Daily Memphian, Tuohy called the allegations “insulting” — and claimed the conservatorship was used to avoid issues with the NCAA when it came time for Oher to attend college. According to him, they could not legally adopt Oher since he was already 18 — but they could enter the alternate legal arrangement, which gave them legal authority over any business dealings made in his name.

“It’s upsetting to think we would make money off any of our children,” he said. “But we’re going to love Michael at 37 just like we loved him at 16.”