I was taken in by this film. It’s a feel good story about overcoming adversity and you pretty much know what exactly is going to happen. There isn’t a hint of surprise in SOUL SURFER and usually that gets me bored. But I really liked this film.
What got to me the most was the family dynamic storylines. They were unconventional by normal Western standards, but the family maintains an excellent job maintaining a loving household. There is this deep love within the family as everyone worries about each other while not being too overbearing about it. The only way for this girl Bethany Hamilton to overcome what she did is with parents and siblings like this. And for me that’s what this whole movie is about: How a family deals with overcoming adversity when one of their own suffers a dramatic event. A family that is about all or nothing. When one person suffers, they all suffer so they can overcome what happened in a healthy way and a quicker way.
This movie taught me that Bethany Hamilton is one lucky girl (or woman now). She was brought up in a healthy, stable environment, and was able to work on her passion and love of surfing almost all of the time. Take having love and support with time and freedom to pursue your passion and you have yourself the best possible life a person can have. And having only one arm pales in comparison with the billions of other people in the world you have nothing what Bethany has.
Of course getting your arm eaten by a shark and almost dying is going to take its toll on anyone. But if Bethany doesn’t have the love of her family then she’s going to have herself a rotten and hateful life.
SOUL SURFER does try to give us some God smulshy take, but that doesn’t help a similar person in her situation if they don’t have a loving family or passion to lean on. God and religion can only take you so far in this world. And I’m sure God would be the first person to say that. So I wished they just took out all the religious angles out of the film because its manipulative and it’s not what the movie is about.
If they were going to throw a propaganda angle at us in SOUL SURFER, I wished they would of talked about how the free health care system works. Bethany survived and made a full recovery with the Hawaii doctors, who work in their free hospital system. So Bethany’s parents didn’t have to worry about paying a $100,000 hospital bill after the doctors saved her life. Being a Canadian who grew up in the free health care system, I have no understanding of people’s reluctance of Obamacare, as they like to call it. SOUL SURFER shows you that it works because this is a film based on a true story.
The actress who played Bethany Hamilton, AnnaSophia Robb, did a solid job carrying this film from first to last frame. We felt her pain and her joy as she was able to show the audience why she was passionate about surfing. One minor issue that isn’t her fault at all is that AnnaSophia looks awfully similar to Lindsay Lohan. They could be sisters they look so close alike. I wonder if the producers of the film thought of Lohan for the role before she got into all of her legal troubles.
And I kept wondering who the actress playing her spiritual guide was because she kept performing false moment after false moment and I was taken out of the film whenever she appeared. Turns out she is some sort of singer called Carrie Underwood. Not to sound jerky but I think Underwood needs to go back to acting classes if she wants to appear in an acting role again.