When is there a better time to have a truly inspirational movie than during these current harsh economical times? Nowadays it seems we could all use a little bit of a push towards our fight for a happy life. Whether it’s a financial hardship, a personal insecurity, or simply the cons of learning to surf - Soul Surfer will teach that the human mind is capable of achieving the impossible. Therefore, be ready to take a dive into an ocean full of danger and adventure that will truly warm the soul and open doors to thoughts of further possibilities.
Every now and then, the world is given a special person who will show us how to grab life by the horns and strive for greatness no matter what the consequences or obstacles are. Bethany Hamilton is one of these people. Bethany becomes an inspiration in this story about her true life when she comes to the crossroads of a terrifying circumstance and left to decide which path to take. Yet what makes Soul Surfer so inspirational is that it’s not just a movie about surfing, it’s about an amazing effort of human condition to rise above impossibilities and achieve the greatness that is in the hearts of all of us.
This is a true story of a young courageous teen named, Bethany Hamilton portrayed by (AnnaSophia Robb, The Race to Witch Mountain): who eats, sleeps and lives surfing. Surfing is her passion, and all that she wants to do for the rest of her life. Bethany and her family live in Hawaii, and surfing is in the family genes. Her mom and dad, played by (Dennis Quaid, Legion, GI Joe: The rise of Cobra) and (Helen Hunt, Every Day) - both surf every chance they get, along with her two brothers. Bethany is out on the waves every breath of chance with all of them, or by herself if need be. One day Bethany and her friend Alana, (Lorraine Nicholson, World’s Greatest Dad); decide to try out for an upcoming surf competition and wind up getting admittance and a sponsor. Excited about the competition and the new sponsorship they get, the two teens can only realize that their dreams of becoming famous professional surfers are now a very real possibility. They are living their dreams.
One day Bethany, Alana and some friends decide to go train for the girl’s upcoming competition. They paddle out to some untouched waves and just as they are waiting to catch their first sets, something horrifying happens. A shark comes out of nowhere and bites into Bethany as she is lying down on her surfboard. The movie spins off into a state of emergency as her friends rush to get her to the hospital from a very remote beach not knowing if Bethany is dying from her serious injuries.
Waking up in the hospital bed, Bethany finds herself surrounded by her loving family as they are overwhelmed with joy to see her open her eyes. Bethany quickly learns about the loss of her arm and is unsure of how she will continue to live the life that she had. Bethany quickly bounces back as she is finally brought home from the hospital and is eager to start living the usual life she had with her family and friends. She quickly begins to realize the many simple things that she can no longer do and immediately falls into depression.
Not happy with her new life, Bethany consults with her ministry youth group leader, Sarah Hill - played by country music superstar, Carrie Underwood. Bethany decides to not give up on her dreams, and with the help from Sarah, and her family; Bethany takes the path to continue surfing regardless of her current condition. Knowing the dangers and hardships Bethany faces with her tragedy, her family and friends express their concerns to her - but soon realize that without surfing Bethany may never be happy again. Therefore with all efforts full steam ahead, Bethany decides to not only try surfing again, but to also continue with the surf competition. As she first conquers her fear of getting back into the water, Bethany soon learns that her old skills of surfing are worthless with her new handicap and she is overwhelmed with frustration and fear as she fights to find a way to continue living her dreams. Will Bethany be able to pull it off?
The film is written and directed by Sean McNamara (Into the Blue 2: The Reef), who works with a wonderful cast that communicates this true heartfelt story about courage. The film should do well in theaters but would have also done just as well as a “made for TV” movie, as it’s not a summer blockbuster but merely a movie about heart and courage. Audiences looking for a heartfelt and inspirational movie will be quickly entertained by the immediate joys of a life that revolves around a popular sport and how the dreams of a young competitor will not die. Carrie Underwood fans will barely notice her transition from singing to acting – as although her part is somewhat small, it is an important character in Bethany’s life and Underwood pulls it off fairly naturally. Viewers will also learn about the award winning surfer, Bethany Hamilton, and can experience some of the pains and joys she went through as if it were their own. The producers communicate this well. Surfers, non-surfers, or anyone who has experienced a personal or related tragedy will benefit from Soul Surfer; as this movie is not just about surfing. It’s about playing the cards we are dealt in life, and not giving up on our dreams. If anything, life is precious and to not be taken for granted.
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