Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Soul Surfer (2011)

Directed by: Sean McNamara
Starring: AnnaSophia Robb, Dennis Quaid, & Helen Hunt
Rated PG for an intense accident sequence and some thematic material

I remember reading about Bethany Hamilton several years ago after her accident. Then, truthfully, I completely forgot about her. I don’t follow surfing, and I’m not affiliated with any of her charities. But when I heard about this movie, I remembered all I’d heard about her.

Soul Surfer was actually a pretty decent film. Based off the book written by Bethany herself, the movie tells the story of Bethany’s life immediately before and after her shark attack. Anna Sophia Robb was Bethany Hamilton. I found her portrayal very real and sincere, and she pursued the role with great maturity. The scene where she questions why God let such a thing happen to her was heart wrenching. (Fun fact: Bethany actually asked Anna Sophia to play her after watching Bridge to Terabithia!) I’ve enjoyed watching Anna Sophia grow up in front of the camera, and from what I’ve seen so far, I’m excited to see where her career goes.

We also had a starstudded cast, which I always enjoy in movies. Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt played Bethany’s parents, and were the ultimate supportive parents. They also did their own surfing in the film! (Bethany did most of the stunt work for Anna Sophia.) Carrie Underwood made her acting debut as Bethany’s youth counselor, Sarah—she did fairly well, though I could tell that she’d never acted before. And playing Bethany’s best friend, Alana, was Lorraine Nicholson, daughter of the one and only Jack Nicholson.

I really did enjoy the film. There were a few hokey moments that just screamed “Hollywood,” but they were few and far between. The actual shark attack was toned down, and concentrated more on her friends’ efforts to get her to a hospital, which I thought was a very good way of showing it. It’s a good, easy movie to watch. I don’t think it’s a necessity in your movie collection, but it is definitely rent worthy.

Check out the film's Imdb page here.

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