Soul Surfer: A Cheap Inspiration

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By Jenie Michael

Staff Writer

        Getting dressed, cooking, carrying books, driving; all of these are things which require arms, and two of them. Bethany Hamilton, professional surfer, is a real girl who lost her arm to a shark while surfing the waves of Tunnels Beach in Kauai, Hawaii, her hometown.

        The attack, on October 31, 2003, was only 2” away from being fatal. She survived, and following the shark attack, Hamilton continued her life nearly as normal, and even further pursued her surfing career.

        A year later, a book called Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board relating Hamilton’s experiences was published. Seven years following the book’s publication, a movie was made describing the same events.

       Soul Surfer: The Inspiring True Story of Bethany Hamilton was rated PG, and appropriately so. It had a very definitive target audience. With Bible references, and a very simple plot, it’s suitable for families and teenyboppers, not so much for anyone into dramatic, action flicks with a lot going on at once. This was a more “sit back, relax, and enjoy” kind of film – though I do admit I jumped a bit at the moment of the shark attack. There’s not a lot going on throughout the film, and it did get a bit boring at times.

         The director tried hard to make the movie into a heart-wrenching tearjerker, but it just wasn’t all that. As amazing as the story is, the movie didn’t quite manage to bring sufficient tears to my eyes to be classified as a sob story.

        AnnaSophia Robb, the actress portraying Hamilton in the film, did decently acting, though it’s not my favorite of her roles. As a child actor, I often think of her in things like Because of Winn Dixie and A Bridge to Terrebithia. This role called for a more mature acting job, and Robb didn’t do as well as I feel her full potential would have allowed.

        The other actors, Dennis Quiad and Helen Hunt were good, as they have a great deal more experience in the business. Lorraine Nicholson was new to acting- apart from watching her father Jack Nicholson. Considering her inexperience, she did well with the role.

         It’s not chick-flick, nor action, nor sob story. Overall, Soul Surfer was a heartwarming family movie that’s good to heal you when you’re feeling cynical. It’s a story of recovery, and of how anything can happen, and you CAN do anything if you only set your heart to it.