¨ Love is bigger than any tidal wave or fear.¨
Soul Surfer is one of those films with a lot of heart thanks to an inspiring true story about a young teenage girl who never gives up on her dream of becoming a professional surfer even though she losses an arm in a shark attack. This girl’s story is one that needed to be told and one that has inspired many other people with disabilities to continue fighting for their dreams. Soul Surfer is far from being perfect and technically it`s not one of the better made films. You just have to see the scene of the shark attack to realize that the technical part is way behind other Hollywood movies that wow us with spectacular visual effects. Soul Surfer doesn`t have good visuals, the shark scene is so fake you just want to laugh at how bad it was made, but that isn’t the important thing about this film. Other movies may have great visual effects, but they lack story and heart. Soul Surfer has plenty of heart and the story lets us ignore those technical aspects about the film and allows us to enjoy the inspirational story that is being told. The cast is actually pretty good; there are some decent performances, but nothing spectacular either. Dennis Quaid is perhaps the best one in the film and the lead performance from AnnaSophia Robb is also alright. The story is actually a very inspiring one and therefore it’s almost impossible to dislike this film, but one can`t help but think how much better it could have been if the technical part wasn’t so bad. This is one of those movies that could have worked way better if it was made as a documentary because we want to know more about the real and inspiring Bethany Hamilton, and one of the best things about this movie was the ending credits were we got to see some footage of her surfing and doing missionary work.
AnnaSophia Robb is Bethany Hamilton, a teenage surfer who lives in Hawaii and spends most of her day in the water with her best friend, Alana Blanchard (Lorraine Nicholson) who is also a surfer. They both are getting ready for the Regional’s and come from family`s of professional surfers. Bethany`s parents, Tom (Dennis Quaid) and Cheri (Helen Hunt), support her very much and are always there helping and training her. Bethany grew up with her two older brothers so she has grown to be very competitive and athletic. Alana`s father, Holt (Kevin Sorbo), a surfer as well, is also close to the Hamilton`s. The girls do great at the Regional’s and end up qualifying for the Nationals. They also sign a deal for the first time with Rip Curl who wants to represent them. Bethany is at the height of her dream and is one step away from becoming a professional surfer. She continues to work hard and train for the tournament. God is also an important part of her life. When she isn’t in the water she is at her church learning from their youth leader, Sarah Hill (Carrie Underwood), and helping out with missionary work. The kids are planning a trip to Mexico, but Bethany decides to stay and continue preparing for Nationals. Holt takes Alana and Bethany to a campsite where they can focus and continue training for the tournament. While they are all in the water surfing a shark suddenly attacks Bethany and bites off her arm. Bethany is rushed to a hospital where the doctors manage to save her life thanks to the composure she has kept despite losing a lot of blood. Instead of forgetting about her dreams she decides to keep on fighting for them and competing to become a professional surfer without losing her faith in God despite the accident.
It`s hard to remain emotionally detached from a story that is so inspirational and although being far from perfect the producers did a decent job at telling it by not leaving out the religious aspect that was so central to Hamilton`s life. This is a major improvement from Sean McNamara`s latest film, Bratz, and it is actually better than most family films that have come out lately. Yes it could have been a lot better due to the powerful message the story has, but it also could have been a lot worse considering all the people that were involved with the screenplay. It`s always a bad sign when you have so many people contributing to a screenplay and in this case there were seven people involved trying to adapt Hamilton`s book Soul Surfer. The message still manages to get across in the film and there are several interesting scenes. Beth is such a strong girl and her faith is so unshaken even after all the ordeal she went through that for some it might be hard to identify with a character as strong as this one, but I know that there are several people like her who put their faith in God and let Him carry them through adversities without letting their faith be unshaken. All in all it is an inspiring story about a girl who finds the courage to face her fears and get back in the water in order to follow her dream. This is a film the entire family will enjoy.