Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Soul Surfer--Movie Review

SOUL SURFER: 30 Second TV Spot
From movie info, trailers and clips:
"Bethany was born to surf. A natural talent who took to the waves at a young age, she was leading an idyllic, sun-drenched, surfer girl's life on the Kauai Coast, competing in national competitions with her best friend Alana, when everything changed in a heartbeat. On Halloween morning, Bethany was on a typical ocean outing when a 14-foot tiger shark came out of nowhere and seemed to shatter all her dreams.

In the moving aftermath of this headline-making story, Bethany fights to recover and grapples with the future. Strengthened by the love of her parents, Tom and Cheri, she refuses to give in or give up, and begins a bold return to the water. Still, the questions keep hammering her: Why did this happen? Why did she have to lose everything? Will she ever feel the joy and power of riding the waves again? And if she can't be a surfer, then who is she?

The devastating 2004 tsunami in the Pacific Ocean unexpectedly gives Bethany a new perspective. Traveling to Phuket, Thailand with her youth-group leader Sara Hill, she witnesses life beyond her own shoreline and discovers her greater purpose--she can make a difference in the lives of others. Filled with a new sense of hope and direction, she returns home with a renewed resolve to conquer her own limitations and set an encouraging example for people facing adversity.

At the National Championships, Bethany bravely faces off with her fiercest rival, Malia Birch, and takes her astonishing one-armed surfing technique to the limit. But as the horn blows, and the suspenseful competition kicks off, Bethany is no longer thinking about the challenges of her body. Now, her surfing, her biggest dreams and her life have become about pushing her own physical limits to touch the souls of others."

Last week I was surprised to see Soul Surfer, a limited-release movie playing in our small town. I try to support family-oriented, especially faith-based movies, when they're available, so I took my 11-year-old granddaughter to see the movie.

The movie opened with the family sitting in church. The choir, led by country singer Carrie Underwood, was singing Blessed be the Name by Tree 63. Unfortunately The Name was never mentioned. The story talked a lot about faith and belief and putting others before oneself. The girl told her Dad she had lost everything after she lost her arm in a shark attack. Later she goes to Thailand on a missions trip and meets a woman who lost her family and everything she owned in the 2004 tsunami. After that, Bethany was able to put her own losses into perspective.

It was a good movie, with a good message for families. I would’ve preferred more emphasis on the faith message and what we should actually have faith in. There is one scene where the girl’s father is reading the Bible so you knew they were a believing family. I suppose Hollywood didn’t want to offend viewers by talking too much about faith and especially the only forbidden five-letter word in media—Jesus.

I would recommend Soul Surfer to all movie goers, especially families where there is so little quality programming available to us. We didn’t take our 5-year-old grandson, not because of any disturbing images he might see, but because I didn’t think he could sit still that long without bothering other patrons. But if the child is old enough to sit still for nearly two hours, then parents can take a child without worry. The images are not graphic, and the stunning scenery will make you want to buy airline tickets to someplace tropical.

As soon as we left the theater, my granddaughter said she planned to buy Soul Surfer as soon as it comes out on DVD. I don’t think a movie can earn higher accolades than that.


Molly Noble Bull said...

I saw Soul Surfer on Friday night, and I really liked it for the same reasons Teresa did. But if it had one fault, it might be that they spent too much time in the water. I would have liked seeing them doing other things besides surfing.
Nevertheless, it was a great family movie.

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Sounds like a great movie. I'll need to keep it in mind when it comes out on DVD.

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Cindy Navarro said...

I saw the movie the weekend it came out and really liked it. Since it wasn't promoted as a faith-based film as much as it was more of a biographical film concentrating on the circumstances in Bethany Hamilton's life, I thought it was quite well-done. Too often Christians are portrayed in a very unflattering light. This is simply a family who are Christians.

Exchange host said...

Saw this movie last night! It's an awesome movie!

Watch soul surfer online said...

i saw this movie last weekend and liked it alot! A true story, exciting dialouges, and of course Carrie the wonderful actress in the lead. Could it get any better?