soulsurferSoul Surfer has some of the most spectacular sea photography I have seen in years.

This film is based on the story of Bethany Hamilton, the champion teen surfer who lost her left arm during a shark attack in Hawaiian waters. The end of the film shows the real Bethany and what she is doing now. AnnaSophia Robb portrays Bethany, with Dennis Quaid as her father and Helen Hunt as her Mom. Carrie Underwood is Bethany’s church youth leader in this inspirational movie, and the missionary work of World Vision is also explained.

We begin with surfing in Hawaiian waters. The entire Hamilton family is into it and living on the shore. Bethany not only is athletically talented, but seems to have an affinity with the ocean. A true sea person. We see her being trained by her Dad, teased by two older brothers and having fun in general. Then comes the incident in which Bethany almost dies. Due to the quick work of a swim coach (Kevin Sorbo) she is saved, but her left arm is gone. Bethany will not give up but begins to train and build her body to adapt to surfing with one arm. All this with the waves of the Pacific in the background. It makes surfing like brushwork of one painting after another. As a detour, Bethany goes with Carrie Underwood to other countries with aid. She sees just how lucky she really is. Back in Hawaii,  the day comes for Bethany to enter competition again, but her rivals are formidable.
“Soul Surfer” is an apt title for someone at home in the water. It looks so easy, just climb on the board, catch a wave and stand up. Lots of luck. The competition film footage at the end of the movie is pure art. Acting is about average, though, as you know what is going to happen and the story goes so fast, there is no time to dwell on anything before moving on to something else. Training-contest-accident-hospital, it is marked off like a progress chart. In reality, this was a life-threatening event and the real Bethany Hamilton handled it like a pro.

God may put an obstacle in your path, but then there may be another talent he wants you to develop. Something you didn't know you had. Such is life and Soul Surfer gives you one person’s journey and discovery through it.

Stars: AnnaSophia Robb, Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, Carrie Underwood, Lorraine Nicholson, Kevin Sorbo and Jeremy Sumpter
Director: Sean McNamara
Scriptwriters: Deborah Schwartz, Douglas Schwartz, Michael Berk and Sean McNamara
Cinematographer: John R. Leonetti
Composer: Marco Beltrami
FilmDistrict Pictures
Rating: PG for accident sequence
Running Length: 115 minutes

Copyright 2011 Marie Asner