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Soul Surfer (2011)

PG  |   |  Biography, Drama, Sport  |  8 April 2011 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 33,445 users   Metascore: 53/100
Reviews: 113 user | 110 critic | 27 from Metacritic.com

Teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton overcomes the odds and her own fears of returning to the water after losing her left arm in a shark attack.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Malina Birch (as Sonya Balmores Chung)
Fuel TV Reporter #2


13 year-old Bethany Hamilton is a champion surfer who was born to be in the water. But after a fun night out night surfing and what should be a fun day in the water, she is attacked by a shark and loses her arm. Rushed to the hospital, she remains calm, and maintains her faith in God. Now she has to re-learn how to do everything with only one arm - including how to surf. It will take her friends, family, and her Christian faith to get her back into the water, but if that is where she is meant to be, she will find a way to get there. Written by napierslogs

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


When you come back from a loss, beat the odds, and never say never, you find a champion.


Biography | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for an intense accident sequence and some thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

8 April 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bangu medziotoja  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$10,601,862 (USA) (8 April 2011)


$43,853,424 (USA) (15 July 2011)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The far away surfing scenes are actually Bethany Hamilton because AnnaSophia Robb isn't the best surfer and Bethany wanted to be a part of the movie, Bethany is also seen when her character is helping with the recovery from the tsunami Bethany is seen carring soccer ball in a box from the side so you can't see her lost arm. See more »


Cherilyn Hamilton cuts the top of a tomato twice after getting back home from the hospital. See more »


Bethany Hamilton: Surfing isn't the most important thing in life. Love is. I've had the chance to embrace more people with one arm than I ever could with two.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the ending credits, videos of the real Bethany Hamilton are shown, many of similar (or possibly the inspiration for) moments in the film. See more »


Referenced in The Amazing Race: All or Nothing (2014) See more »


The Unknown
Written by Joel Pott, Stephen Roberts (as Steven Roberts), Timothy Wanstall and Carey Willetts
Performed by Athlete
Courtesy of Polydor Ltd (UK)
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A wonderful story for the whole family
9 April 2011 | by (Southern California) – See all my reviews

When a film is based upon such a widely known story it's a real challenge for film makers to do justice to both the original story and to an audience who expect to be entertained. I feel they delivered on both counts. So, thank you.

Of course, the core of the story is the terrible shark attack that happened to Bethany Hamilton. That kind of thing is universally thought to be so horrific that merely surviving at all would be a triumph of human will. But Bethany Hamilton transcended that by leaps and bounds to become an international icon for what it means to be courageous in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds. Her courage, strength, perseverance, dedication, work ethic, professionalism and just plain bare faith have become a model for success to a large number of people all over the world. She has justly earned every accolade, every compliment and every success that I feel sure she feels privileged to have received. Oh, and she's gorgeous too.

With that incredible young woman's story as the fodder for the film it was a walk in the park for the film makers. All they had to do was tell the truth and let the facts speak for themselves. But that is something Hollywood has a lot of trouble doing. But this simple formula seems to be what they did, and did masterfully. The setting for the film is one of the most breathtaking on earth, so that was easy to enjoy. The cinematography was excellent as was, of course, the special CGI effects. Makeup and costuming didn't have much of a stretch, letting the beauty of the islands, its people and the athleticism, beauty and youth of the principal actors deliver what artificiality never could.

The cast was well chosen with the petite AnnaSophia Robb as Bethany Hamilton and Lorraine Nicholson as Bethany's lifelong friend Alana Blanchard. Much of the story centered on these two girls so it was a lot for them to carry. I can imagine how it must have been difficult for Robb to try to give credence to a part depicting someone who is so genuinely bigger than life - even legendary. I think she did a terrific job. I was taken in by watching her nuances of emotion throughout the film. She's no rookie but this was a real challenge that she met with talent and grace.

Nicholson was a perfect fit as Hamilton's friend; adding a few smiles to the tension we all certainly felt watching the story unfold. Real friendships should never be underplayed and she came across as a solid, loving friend to Bethany. Then Helen Hunt as Bethany's mother Cheri Hamilton and Dennis Quaid as her father Tom Hamilton both did outstanding work, but that's what I've come to expect from them. I think I'd be genuinely shocked if either of them ever did poorly in any role. They were ably backed by Kevin Sorbo as Alana's father Holt Blanchard and Craig T. Nelson as Dr. Rovinksy, Bethany's attending physician. All of them made the film that much better and I enjoyed every minute each was on screen. Perhaps the most interesting to me is watching Quaid. He's become quite a versatile and talented actor.

Last but not least was Carrie Underwood as Sarah Hill. This is the first time I've seen her do any acting and I can say she did a terrific job. I really liked her playing the part of someone who was so important to Bethany's success and she did so with genuine warmth and friendliness.

I was very well entertained as was everyone who attended the screening with me. I left the theater with the thought that I wish much success to the film - it's a masterful character tale for all young people the world over - and ever increasing success to Bethany Hamilton herself. She deserves no less.

By Bruce L. Jones http://webpages.charter.net/bruce.jones1/

25 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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