Monday, April 11, 2011

Soul Surfer – A Review

This isn’t a Christian movie about a surfer who had her arm bit off. It’s a movie about a Christian surfer who rose above her circumstances and became a role-model to the world. I rank Soul Surfer a titch below Blind Side and Secretariat.

I remember when Bethany Hamilton’s story hit my news channel. It struck me on an emotional level because I had named a character in my book, (Merely Players – now in the compilation Florida Weddings,) by the same name before I had even heard of the young surfer. In an odd, parallel universe way, it almost felt as though my created character had gone through the same thing. Much the same way as if this had happened to someone with the same name as my own child. So I became emotionally connected.

This is why I had to see this movie on it’s premier weekend. And I wasn’t disappointed.

There are many reasons to love this movie:

  • The acting is believable. Thanks to A-listers Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt, who portrayed struggling parents who love their baby and only want the best for her. AnnaSophia Robb is believable as the teen Bethany, and Carrie Underwood even delivers as she tries out her acting chops portraying a trusted youth group leader.
  • The setting. Filmed entirely in Hawaii, the scenery is breathtaking.
  • The special effects.
    • The wave scenes are heart-stopping as the camera dives under the water, through the water, over the water. It was so realistic, I expected to leave the theater wet!
    • The attack itself. Convincing, but not overdone. Yes, there is blood, but it’s not gory.
    • AnnaSophia Robb really does have two arms. I saw them when she was plugging the film on the talk circuit. But after the shark attack, it had been effectively erased.
  • The Hamilton family. It is so refreshing to see a family so supportive of each other. I saw no dysfunction, a common malady among much of the “entertainment” pushed into our homes and theaters at an alarming rate.
  • The message. Yes, it has Christian content…(ooo, run for your lives!) but the inspirational theme comes from the courage of a thirteen-year-old girl who overcomes.


I give Soul Surfer 4.5 out of 5 stars. Again, I can’t pin-point why this movie isn’t quite in the same league as it’s inspirational predecessors mentioned in the beginning of this review. It certainly didn’t ruin my experience. There are some predictable moments, but they are presented in such a way that you’d be disappointed if they weren’t there. And hey, if that’s what happened, that’s what happened. Even though it was a true story, the writers expertly wrote a plot that kept me interested. Take tissues.


Soul Surfer -

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