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Soul Surfer

A movie directed by Sean McNamara

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Soul Surfer warms the soul

  • Apr 4, 2011
  • by

               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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December 21, 2011
Nice write-up! I still haven't seen this one but, it's definitely on my list!
April 13, 2011
This sounds like a really good one. Thanks for sharing :)
More Soul Surfer reviews
review by . April 10, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
A Young Girl, Her Family, Her Faith and Courage and Her Surfing Board....
Movies that feature a teen that finds her inner strength and overcomes the odds are exactly new. I know stories like this are usually built on cliché; and I have often said that sometimes (or oftentimes), life is cliché. “Soul Surfer” does have an incredible story to work with fortunately, as it dramatizes the life of pro-surfer Bethany Hamilton. She was a 13-year old with an incredible story to tell, as she faces the ultimate test of will and determination. Supported by …
review by . October 15, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
"What does it feel like?"     After the question of just how my deformed arm came to be deformed, that's probably the question people ask me the most. My answer to the question has never changed: I can't give an honest, accurate view of exactly what it FEELS like to have a short arm, an immobile wrist, and only half of a hand. I don't feel qualified to give an answer to such a question, because I've never had anything else to compare it to. This deformity is something I was born …
review by . April 09, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         If Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours was meant to inspire adults, Soul Surfer is a film perfectly suited to inspire younger audiences. Both are true stories about thrill seekers who lose a limb due to the forces of nature; this time around, the subject is Hawaii native and champion surfer Bethany Hamilton, who on October 31, 2003, at the age of thirteen, had her left arm bitten off by a shark. Despite her handicap and the obvious emotional shock, she …
About the reviewer
Ed Haley ()
I have always been a huge movie buff. Therefore in my spare time I write movie reviews, entertainment articles and interview celebrities for two major entertainment websites: and … more
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About this movie


A teenage surfer girl summons the courage to go back into the ocean after losing an arm in a shark attack.
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Director: Sean McNamara
Genre: Action, Drama, Sport
Release Date: 8 April 2011 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 106 min
Studio: Brookwell-McNamara Entertainment, Enticing Entertainment, Island Film Group
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