(PG) Sony DVD/BD
Soul Surfer is the true story of Hawaiian surfer Bethany Hamilton, who tragically lost her arm to a shark attack, just as her surfing career was beginning to take off at age 13.
As she learns to adapt, she questions herself, her faith and her dreams until a mission trip to Thailand begins to give her a new perspective.
Anna Sophia Robb (Bridge to Terabithia, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) gives a strong emotional performance as Bethany, managing to translate the real Bethany’s resilience, sunny disposition and likeability despite struggling to adapt to life with one arm — as well as questioning God’s purpose for her life.
These moments manage to be moving, despite Carrie Underwood’s mediocre performance as Bethany’s church youth group leader.
Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid play Bethany’s devoted parents and Quaid becomes typically over-the-top with heroics during some points.
The stunning scenery of Hawaii is a definite highlight of the film. The surfing competitions throughout do not shy away from cliché but are still enjoyable to watch.
Soul Surfer, though often contrived as well as let down by a decidedly average supporting cast, is enjoyable in parts and suitable for the whole family as Bethany is someone to admire as well as relate to.
However, the scene with the shark, although very brief, may disturb some younger viewers.
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