Soul Surfer

June 8, 2011

Based on a true story
Directed by Sean McNamara
Reviewed by Moriah Teed
Rated 5 out of 5 stars

Bethany Hamilton, played by AnnaSophia Robb, lives a dream life with her family on the beach, surfing daily with her best friend, Alana, and competing in surfing competitions. Everything appears to be perfect until a tragic event turns her life upside-down.  One seemingly regular day transforms into a day she will never forget. While surfing with Alana, Bethany becomes the victim of a shark attack. Although she is still alive, she is faced with a previously unimaginable challenge, going through life with only one arm. Now she can’t even put her hair up on her own, and normal activities are practically impossible to carry out. Bethany will have to learn a new way to do just about everything – including surfing. Throughout this process, reality painfully becomes apparent; her life can never be the same. However, that does not stop her from striving to accomplish her goal of winning the national surfing competition. This task would have been difficult enough with two arms, let alone one, but Bethany refuses to let that hold her back, stating, “I don’t need easy; I just need possible.”


Soul Surfer is based on the true events in the life of a teenage surfer, Bethany Hamilton. The movie is captivating and extremely motivational, sending the powerful message of perseverance. Watching Bethany’s attempt to overcome such an obstacle is truly inspirational. During her journey, Bethany learns many meaningful life lessons too, and being in the theater gives the feeling as though you are right there with her, learning from them as well. Although the lessons of determination, loving others, and more are experienced by a teenage girl, audiences of all ages can get a strong meaning from them; many adults have yet to figure out what she already has about life. In addition to the deep, overall theme of the plot, there are little heart-wrenching moments along the way, capturing both strength and weakness. Those moments are what really make the movie so great, because they show the pure, raw emotion that we have all felt at some point in our lives. This gives Soul Surfer a real and relatable depth, when otherwise it would have been just a distant retelling of someone else’s life. That emotion shows the brilliant making of an exceptional movie.

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