Soul Surfer-Movie Review about Bethany Hamilton
At age 13, Bethany Hamilton was on top of her game-the surfing game. She was born to two surfer parents in Hawaii, and grew up swimming and surfing as part of her daily activities. What happened on October 31, 2003 was tragic-a freak shark attack on Halloween Day during a surfing exercise with her best friend, Alana Blanchard.
Alana’s father acted quickly, placing a tourniquet around the remainder of her left arm, while Alana’s brother called 9-1-1 for assistance. Arriving at the hospital where Bethany’s father was preparing for knee surgery, Dr. Rovinsky, his surgeon, immediately turned his attention on Bethany, saving her life after she lost 60% of her blood.
Film director, Sean McNamara cast Anna Sophia Robb in the role of Bethany Hamilton, and Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt as her parents: Tom and Cheri Hamilton.
The film is narrated through the voice of Bethany and it takes the audience from her toddler days splashing in the water to Halloween Eve, when she and best friend, Alana Blanchard, sneak out for midnight surf with a group of boys.
The film reveals a strong faith as a Christian family that plays an important part in Bethany’s recovery after the loss of her left arm. It includes several outdoor worship scenes and the relationship that Bethany had with her church youth leader, played by Carrie Underwood in her film debut.
At one point, the emphasis of the movie reflected Bethany’s passion for surfing, as well as her frustration and disappointment in not being able to adequately compete again. Discouraged, she gives up surfing and joins the mission to Thailand, following the 2004 tsunami that devastated the villages there.
While in Thailand she realizes that her problems are minuscule in comparison to those who lost more than one arm. She attaches herself to a little boy who is afraid to go back into the water, after the horror of the tsunami, and is motivated to show him, and the other Thai children, that there is nothing to fear. Her success in teaching him how to use the surf boards that were sent along with the group from Hawaii reveals to her a higher purpose and excites her to return to her passion.
On her return to the United States, Bethany discovers that her father has devised a special handle on her surf board that will enable her to dive through the waves without getting pushed off. Bethany is now in a position to re-enter the surfing competition and does so.
Soul Surfer is the movie based on Bethany’s autobiographical account of the events that turned her world upside down, tested her faith, and motivated her to get on with her life-despite her missing limb.
Inspirational is the one word for this movie. This is a reflection of a courageous young teen that fought to put some normalcy back into her life, and succeeded in doing so.
This movie shows the remarkable tenacity and courage of this young teen who lost her arm in October 31, 2003 and was back riding the waves in January, 2004. It is an exciting and emotional film that brought more than one tear to my eye during the course of the movie.
Veteran actors Quaid and Hunt do well without overtaking the position of where the focus of the film is. Robb plays the part of Bethany Hamilton sublimely; and Underwood had a role that was well suited for her.
The cinematography is breathtaking. Filming took place both in Hawaii and Thailand. The excitement of watching the young women compete was an added bonus. The final wave at the end of the film was remarkable.
All in all, I enjoyed this film and would highly recommend this movie as an inspirational film for older elementary and above. The crisis of the shark attack and frantic rush to the hospital might be too much for very young children.
Soul Surfer: The story behind the film
Trailer: Soul Surfer
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