I’ve watched so many movies this past year of 2011. I thank God for giving me such great opportunities to write movie reviews for KidsPickFlicks and Scholastic Kids Press Corps. These were some of my favorite movies that came out in 2011: You can read my movie reviews for Soul Surfer, Arthur Christmas, Dolphin Tale, Born to Be Wild, War Horse, Hugo, Winnie the Pooh, Courageous, On Stranger Tides, We Bought a Zoo, Adventures of Tin Tin, The Help, Mr Popper’s Penguins, Mars Needs Moms, Monte Carlo
Cast: AnnaSophia Robb, Helen Hunt, Dennis Quaid, Carrie Underwood
Director: Sean McNamara
Running time: 1:44
Rating: PG for an intense accident sequence and some thematic material.
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 determination helps her overcome obstacles and hardships of getting back on the board, surfing the waves.
Even with her perseverance, questions still batter her mind – “Why did this happen? Why do bad things happen?” Just as she is on the verge to give up, she visits Thailand where the tsunami just hit. The scene where Bethany helps children overcome their fear of water is absolutely poignant.
Bethany realizes 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 shows good sportsmanship, even to her fiercest rival, Malina Birch (Sonya Balmores). Bethany thanks 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 replies, “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 gazed at the beautiful scenery. The talented surfers ride 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 (Sarah Hill, Bethany’s youth leader) said, “In the end that’s most important.”