Bethany Hamilton “Soul Surfer" Movie: Heartwarming Story

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Running Time: 1 hr. 45 min.
Release Date: April 8th, 2011 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG for an intense accident sequence and some thematic material.
Distributors: Enticing Entertainment, TriStar Pictures, FilmDistrict

Director: Sean McNamara

JJ Rating: B+

See it again: Yes.
Own it: Mehby.
Recommend it to: those that enjoy heartwarming story.


Noticeable glitches in CGI
A tad preachy

Bethany Hamilton (AnnaSohia Robb) loves to surf. Her and her friends go to a remote area to catch some waves. They sit on boards in the ocean when a shark bites off her arm. She’s rushed to the hospital and lives. Her love of surfing undaunted she tries to surf with one less arm. With just as much determination as before, would it be enough to push her to succeed? Soul Surfer.

I saw To Save a Life and Soul Surfer has a similar feel to it, but it was less churchy cheesy. Carrie Underwood’s part in the film had a lot to do with the churchy stuff. I rolled my eyes at some of it because I do that. Her character discussed focusing so close on a situation on is unable gain proper perspective. I liked how it was done. Carrie Underwood was able to act better than Taylor Swift. I’m glad to say that. Not WAY better, but better.

AnnaSohia Robb had a difficult thing to do. Pretend she didn’t have an arm. They digitally removed it, but to act as if you can’t use what you have is difficult. Go ahead and try to cut a tomato with only one hand, pretending you don’t have the other. How many times does that non-existent hand come into play to try to save the day? Of course, they probably tied it off to remove that problem, but still…Another great thing Soul Surfer handled is displaying how she coped when she returned home. I felt the frustration. I didn’t understand it, but I felt it. It gave me perspective.

I remember reading about this story when it happened. She talked about how her efforts inspired people. It’s funny that she practiced (as the movie showed), competed and lost. It made her feel like a loser and she didn’t want to do it again. She went off to help people and in essence helped herself. When she returned, she had fan mail out her home’s windows. People were inspired to not only write her, but to do things they thought they couldn’t do. Her failed (as she thought) attempt to win a competition turned out to be a winning try. Those that wrote didn’t have to. They could have thought it and that would be that, but just like her with competing, they tried. She lost, felt bad, left, came back, read letters of those that were inspired and was in turn inspired to try again. It’s human perpetuation of greatness. Those that are great are the faces of those that pushed them to succeed. Those that push aren’t seen, but the pushed is. Bethany felt like a failure, but the letters from fans who had similar circumstances told her that she inspired them and their want to share how she made them feel made her want to try again. It was awesome reading that and, now, seeing it on screen. Humanity is wrought with terrible people who are like termites destroying our foundations, but there are those out there that, like Bethany, inspire greatness that in return pushes for more greatness.

If I were king, I would knight Bethany as Heart of the Waves. That would be awesome. I’m not king of anything, but it’s the thought that counts.

Rare is it that a moral is displayed in a film like this. It gives me goosebumps thinking about it. I often think could I go on like that? If I lost one of my hands that would be terrible. I couldn’t type as fast as I do now. I’d have to adapt as she did. Would I quit? The passion I feel for writing says I wouldn’t, but my mind has grave difficulty when it comes to stressors that are simple. Losing an arm would be beyond a simple complication. I love thinking like this. What if’s are fun to maul over and ponder what I’d do. I could only hope to do as well as she did with her support.

The music had Hawaiian flair. Great use of drums during competition moments. Good enough that I bought both soundtracks. The one with songs and the score. I added it to my favorite scores on my Ipod. Beautiful scenes. Great wave moments. Very well done film, but there were moments where the CGI wasn’t as smooth as it could have been (and I suck at noticing detail like this…so this might have been a huge mistake more than I realize) and it pulled me out of the film. I got over it. Soul Surfer is an engaging film. It does over preach sometimes, but it also teaches, so it evens out. When I think of Soul Surfer I smile, remember I had a good time and wish (an impossible wish) that I could surfe as good as she does with one arm with my two.