Soul Surfer (2011)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Inspirational stories are plentiful, but few have such a personal way of portraying their story. In fact, most turn out to be a downright shame, and in that, there is little inspiring about them at credits close. It would stand to reason then that, most the time, fans like to feel uplifted following the conclusion (hence the inspiration). Many of us probably recall “fearless” teen Bethany Hamilton, and her story of faith in recovering from something that nearly stole her dreams. This tells her story. 

Bethany Hamilton (AnnaSophia Robb) lives the kind of life most teenagers enjoy during summer vacation or while on spring break. Living in Hawaii provides her with the opportunity to feed her passion: surfing. As a child she spent more time in the water than on dry land – it is her way of life. Her mother (Helen Hunt) wouldn’t have given permission for her to go night surfing, but since Bethany really wanted to try it, she snuck out and met with a group of close friends… and she falls in love with the sport just a little bit more for having that experience. Something of a rising star in the world of amateur competitive shows, Bethany’s prospects are bright but her dreams are cut short when while surfing she falls victim to a shark attack, and her life is forever changed…

Although her family – including her supportive father (Dennis Quaid), brothers (Ross Thomas, Chris Brochu), best friend Alana (Lorraine Nicholson) and youth counselor Sarah Hill (Carrie Underwood) become her biggest cheerleaders – wanting her to overcome any obstacle, Bethany’s attempts to re-invent how she coped with what used to be simple day-to-day tasks frustrates her, and little by little Bethany’s zest for living life to its fullest and belief in herself wavers.

For a true story that is still relatable to today’s society (unlike an event that might have happened 200 years ago), Soul Surfer has an excellent script. The actors portrayed their characters with ease, emotion and empathy, and I loved that about the story. Young AnnaSophia was absolutely grand in the role; she seemed to dominate each scene in the sense that she made us understand the difficulties in doing tasks that used to be taken for granted.

The supporting cast is equally wonderful, although I think country superstar Carrie Underwood could have given a bit more emotion to her role. As a result some of the scenes between her and Anna are a little forced. The one scene in which Bethany gently coaxes a child back into the water following a tragedy in his young life while Sarah watches from shore is a touching moment, and it’s that event that becomes a cornerstone for Bethany. Likewise, the filming (likely thanks to the gorgeous scenery!) and music are phenomenal; including some awesome surfing shots. (Just a fun piece of trivia for you all: Bethany herself was a stunt double for Anna.)

The emotional impact of this story is incredibly well conveyed. Bethany’s initial optimism wanes and it takes a trip across the world to help her come to grips with her life – a loss that she realizes is nothing compared to some people. I do not know how accurate the movie is, but if it is true that Bethany had such composure during her ordeal is a testament to her strong will. The fact that the movie didn’t end with Bethany winning but rather conquering her fears and, in that she experienced a more valuable lesson: that makes her a champion.

CONTENT: there is a shark attack, which is relatively quick. The camera captures an underwater shot of the shark coming up on Bethany before she is pulled under with a lot of blood, once she is pulled from the water, there is a tense sequence. Many of the girls wear bikinis through the majority of the film. Kids sneak out without parent’s permission.


  1. Really enjoyed this movie. :)

  2. Me too. =) It was actually a lot better than I thought.

    Thanks again for stopping by, Meghan.

  3. I've been wanting to see soul surfer.

  4. I hope you see "Soul Surfer" in the near future, Ella! It is really good and I discovered that I liked it much better than I'd originally thought - it will probably be a DVD I will purchase someday. If you do see it, let us all know what you thought.

    Thank you so much for stopping by Ella!

  5. Thank you SO much, Juju! I really appreciate that. =)


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