Based on a true story, Soul Surfer is one of those rare movies that have nothing for me to rant about. Everything about this movie is uplifting. Encouraging. Inspiring. Brought me to tears.
Bethany Hamilton grew up in Hawaii – side-by-side with the ocean. She was born into a family of surfers, and spent more time being wet than dry with her best friend, Alana Blanchard. 13-year old Bethany’s dreams of being a professional surfer seemed impossible to reach when a 14-foot tiger shark attacked and bit off her left arm. She lost 60% of her blood. Bethany rebounded back with incredible optimism, surprising the doctors, paramedics, friends, and family. They responded with amazing encouragement and support, and Bethany overcame the challenges of surfing without a limb. She went on to recognize her dream of becoming pro.
Soul Surfer really shows the ordeal Bethany went through, and AnnaSophia-Robb is perfect for the role of the Soul Surfer. Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt as Bethany’s parents (Tom and Cheri Hamilton) bring out the emotion as parents themselves - watching their daughter persevere and have faith. I was really touched at the Hamilton family’s strong faith, incredible bond, and especially the support they showed to Bethany.
What I really loved so much about this movie is Bethany’s character. Her unwavering faith in Jesus Christ and her determination helped her overcome her obstacles and hardships of getting back on the board, surfing the waves.
Even with her perseverance, questions still battered her mind – “Why did this happen? Why do bad things happen?” Just as she was on the verge to give up, she visited Thailand in 2004, where the tsunami just hit. The scene where Bethany helps children overcome their fear of water was absolutely poignant.
Bethany realized a very important thing on that mission trip – something more important than surfing. “Love is bigger than a tsunami, stronger than any fear.”
She always showed good sportsmanship, even to her fiercest rival, Malina Birch (Sonya Balmores). Bethany thanked Malina for being so tough on her and treating her like a worthy opponent. When asked by a reporter if she would she ever change what happened, Bethany replied, “I wouldn't change a thing, because then I wouldn't be here talking to you, I can embrace more people now then I could with two arms.”
The visual and sound effects of the waves breaking and cascading down is amazing! I could almost feel the sea spray on my face as I gaze at the beautiful scenery. The talented surfers rode the wave effortlessly. It was amazing to see Bethany herself surfing in many of the scenes after her arm gets bitten.
This is a movie that I will watch over and over again. I was so touched that I cried. I am glad that Hollywood is still making worthwhile movies that are safe for families to enjoy together. This is definitely a five-star, and there should be nothing holding you back from renting Soul Surfer on Blu-Ray DVD.
“Soul surfer is about finding your path, your walk with God, or your surf with God – and making the best of the ride, “ Carrie Underwood said, “In the end that’s most important.”