The spinning yarn activity became important to me, actually, because then I had something else to watch when the movie became too real. I admit that there were parts of the movie that made me uncomfortable. I didn't want to watch the hero (Michael Oher) fail, even at the beginning. I didn't want to watch the heroine (Leigh Anne Tuohy) get threatened by a gang. I didn't want to watch the heartache and heartbreak that comes of having everything and knowing not enough, or of the almost-too-late realization that no one was actually communicating, for all that some people were talking. I didn't want to admit (along with our heroine) that there was so much wrong in the world.
I have a lot of respect for Sandra Bullock as a person and as an actor. In this movie, she presented a very constant, very strong character who I didn't actually like all that much. But liking this character wasn't the point. Understanding her, and what she did, and why, was nearly the whole point of the movie to me. And her script writer gave her character Leigh Anne some excellent speeches, moves, and decision points that were all driving toward the same point of finality in Michael's life. (Bullock won the 2010 Best Actress Oscar, Golden Globe, and SAG for this role.)
Quinton Aaron had a tough role to play as Michael. Michael was uneducated, shy, insecure, and stoic, but at the same time he was also intelligent, thoughtful, and loyal. With so few lines, most of his acting had to come across in expression and constant presentation. Aaron perfected the use of the small smile to make the most of his role.
I was reminded a few times of The Color of Water, and how some people with so little can become successful. In comparison, this movie showed a lot of people with so little who became trapped and did not ever make it out. The commentary about the 21-year-old who died in a gang shooting was necessary to force-feed the audience. I understand that. But the scene that made it a lot more real was Michael going back into the restaurant to talk to his brother, and the stoic conversation that followed.
There weren't many purely comedic moments in the movie. Of those few that got me to laugh out loud, two of them happened back to back.
"Hey Deliverance! You see number 74? Well that's MY son."
"I was taking him to the bus. I figured it was time for him to go home."
In short, it was a good movie. I appreciated the ending, when the movie flipped from actors and scripts to real-life TV footage and real stills of the people about whom the movie centered.