Inspirational stories are plentiful, but few have such a personal portrait. In fact, most turn out to, almost, shame their subject, and in that, there is little inspiring about then. It would stand to reason than that, most the time, fans like to feel uplifted following the conclusion (hence the inspiration). Many of us probably recall the name Bethany Hamilton, and her story of faith in recovering from something that nearly stole her dreams. This tells her story.
Soul Surfer (2011) Film Review
Bethany Hamilton (AnnaSophia Robb) lives the kind of life most teenagers only enjoy during summer vacations. Living in Hawaii provides her the opportunity to feed her passion: surfing. She spends more of her time in the water than on dry land. Her mother (Helen Hunt) won’t give permission for her to go night surfing, but since Bethany really wants to try it, she goes anyway to meet with a group of close friends; and she falls in love with the sport just a little bit more for having that experience. Bethany’s competitive prospects are bright but her dreams are cut short when she falls victim to a shark attack, and her life is forever changed…
FILM REVIEW | ‘The Blind Side’: An Inspiring True Story
For a true story that is still relatable to today’s society (unlike an event that might have happened 200 years ago), Soul Surfer is an excellent script. The actors portray their characters with ease, emotion and empathy, and I love that about the story. Young AnnaSophia is absolutely grand in the role; she seems to dominate each scene in a way that helps us understand her new normal.
The supporting cast is equally wonderful, which includes, Dennis Quaid, Lorraine Nicholson and Carrie Underwood. Although, honestly, I do think Underwood (a singer) could have given a bit more. As a result some of the scenes between her and Anna feel less “easy.” Despite this, there are some really touching, emotional moments. 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 is a stunt double.)
The emotional impact of this story is incredible. Bethany’s initial optimism wanes and it takes a trip across the world to help her come to grips with loss. I don’t know how accurate the movie is, but if some of this composure is real, then it’s a testament to Bethany’s strong will. The fact that the movie ends without a win but focuses on conquering fear, and in that experiencing a more valuable lesson, is what makes her a champion.
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You can find Soul Surfer digitally on Amazon Video.
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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.