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|Index||114 reviews in total|
This movie was remarkable in every sense of the word. It was the
incredible true story of Bethany Hamilton, who was truly born to surf.
Everything about this movie was well done, including the scene where
her arm gets bitten off, which wasn't too graphic (which is actually a
good thing, considering the fact that this was intended to be a
feel-good family film!) and subsequent rush to the hospital, the parts
where she has to cope with living with just one arm (I loved the
prosthetic arm scene!), and the surfing scenes. The surfing scenes
(practicing, contest, etc.) were incredible and really need to be seen
on the big screen.
Overall, I think this was a very well-made movie and was well cast. AnnaSophia Robb was the perfect choice in the lead, and Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt were good as the parents. It has a good supporting cast, including an impressive cast, including a decent debut by Carrie Underwood. In the DVD extras, she talks about how music videos prepared her for the role! Speaking of which, the DVD extras are good too.
This movie is a must-see. I strongly recommend it and enjoyed seeing it. I loved it and guarantee you will too.
***1/2 out of ***
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I remember reading the news when this happened a few years back. This
movie, based on the real girl and her family and friends in Hawaii,
comes across really well.
AnnaSophia Robb is Bethany Hamilton who, as a 13-yr-old junior was among the best surfers in the world in her age group. She was about to get sponsored to surf professionally when she lost her left arm.
This is not a faith-based movie, but being true to the person it includes her Christian faith as an important part of overcoming this setback and getting on with her life.
Her parents are played well by Dennis Quaid as Tom Hamilton and Helen Hunt as Cheri Hamilton. New to film Carrie Underwood is the mission coordinator at church, Sarah Hill. In a blast from TV past, Kevin Sorbo is the family friend, Holt Blanchard, who might have saved Bethany's life that fateful day.
Good movie, and the surfing competition scenes are done very nicely.
SPOILERS: Her arm was bit off at the left shoulder by a shark while she and friends were just "playing". She lost about 60% of her blood, almost died, but survived. Then, she gained strength in her remaining arm and eventually became a champion surfer. In the process she gained fresh perspective on the meaning of life.
I live and love cinema.....and pay close attention to everything in a
film. This one was perfect.....nicely photographed....perfect job by
masters Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt. ...a perfect Bethany by
Anna-Sophia Robb! Original score by Marco Beltrami....as
always....incredible.... This composer scored I Robot, Terminator 3,
The Hurt Locker, etc., etc. ....and there's a bunch of other great
music in the soundtrack. It is such an understatement to say this was
This web author has been following Ms. Hamilton's surfin' since way before she crossed paths with that tiger shark. She's truly an amazing athlete....if I were a competitive rival, I wouldn't want her in my heat! IF you love surfing, and are, or were competitive...you know what a thrill, source of joy and satisfaction surfing competition is! Just being a threat is so much fun.... I personally have but one surfing trophy!....and....it's a second place!....how many humans on Earth can say they have a surfin' trophy??? Sooo....at the top level with Bethany...it's the MOST fun/exciting on Earth.....all those girls have tons of trophies!
Know this....There's NOTHING like surfing.....no similar sport...no simulation.....nothing!
About sharks.....these creepy cartilaginous cruisers are truly Earth's wildest creatures...primitive, elegant and horrific. One can lament and question all they want....but... when mother nature steps in......... ...when something like THIS happens... you WILL humble yourself before God and Nature! Bethany's faith and strength sets an example for us all.
In the extra features section of the DVD, in "Heart of a Soul Surfer"....we see her smiling and bouncing around while still in the hospital. ....that's such a statement to us all...an inspiration....she is a testament to the human spirit.....period I personally think it's a very cool / exceptional way to lose a limb! yOw...but that was such a close call....fortunately the creature got distracted.
In the movie they caught a tiger shark, and Bethany's Dad was called to have a look. He fitted the bite in the surfboard to the animals mouth and it was a perfect fit. There could be 10 tigers that size in the waters surrounding any of those islands at any one time. In the eyes of science, the only true confirmation is to open the animal's stomach. Remember that scene in Steven Spielberg's "Jaws"? In actuality, I wonder if they did catch that tiger.
The main thing is......Beth is still with us....and more competitive than ever! ...and... we get to see this incredible story of a delightful surfing family dealing with a surfer's worst nightmare.
DO NOT MISS the EXTRA features on this disk.....namely "Heart of a Soul Surfer", etc., etc.... Bethany!....if you ever read this......YOU ROCK!!!!!!!
I'll say it....what if... the shark event did not occur?!.....here's what everyone has been thinking all along! Heaven help the current ASP leader!!!!!!!!! ....this story is ageless.
Web Sites: www.BethanyHamilton.com Heart of a Soul Surfer
I rented this wonderful DVD from a Blockbuster automated DVD rental device in Fraser, CO. It had gunk and scratches, and the image froze a few times, plus some artifact...but it didn't interrupt that much. When I see gunk...yuck...gotta wash the disk. ...typical hazards of public DVD rental....I would have been really mad if this one didn't play!
Soul Surfer, the story of Bethany Hamilton. I have seen this movie a few times and i cant see to recall how many times I came close to breaking into tears. The movie is good adaptation of the story told by Hamilton herself. The struggles she had in trying to get back to what she does, surfing. The story was great, the cast was phenomenal. Ann Sophia Robb did a good job portraying the role of Hamilton. She played it well with good grace, execution. I don't know what it is with her, she has some kind of eerie aura. Anyway, she was great. Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt together made her parents look good. Quaid should've deserved an award for this movie. He did a great job. The Surfing scenes in this movie were great, it almost reminded me of Blue Crush. My guess the actors needed some big time surf lessons before trying to film those certain shots in the ocean. Overall, Its a damn fine movie and a real inspirational one. I recommend this to not just surfing lover but anyone who enjoys a truly good emotional tale of triumph and struggle. I give this 8 out of 10.
Have you ever thought of a movie that was based on a true story when you know what's going to happen, but you don't know how it will move you and affect you by then? A movie that is so touching, you don't have to worry about any imperfections or inaccuracies? Well, unknown-reader, look no further. Here's "Soul Surfer", a soulful and very inspirational true story that's just as good as "The Blind Side", which starred Academy Award Winner Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy, a southern belle who took in a large, African-American teen named Michael Oher, who became a real-life football player. In "Soul Surfer", this is the true story of the young real-life surfer named Bethany Hamilton, played by the remarkable AnnaSophia Robb from "Bridge to Terabithia" and "Because of Winn-Dixie", a Christian girl who grew up with a family full of surfers including parents Tom & Cheri (Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt) and has a friend in another surfer Alana Blanchard (Lorraine Nicholson, Jack Nicholson's daughter). Becoming one of the best young surfers in her beloved Hawaii, she has a great destiny ahead of her to become the very best as a professional surfer. That all changes when in 2003 after surfing with her best friend's family, her left arm was bitten off by a shark and nearly losing 60% of her blood. This causes a lot of pain and shock for her family and friends, including her Youth Minister Sarah (Country singer Carrie Underwood, in her impressive film debut). Now only having to live with her right arm, Bethany get lots of help from everyone and from her miraculous faith in order to get back on the board and surf again. Let's face it, "Soul Surfer" can be melodramatic at times, but director Sean McNamara (Bratz: The Movie, Raise Your Voice) avoids the "cheesiness", especially its intense and fast-paced shark attack scene and the special effect of Bethany having one arm. Those and the surfing scenes alone are not distractions. McNamara is not exactly my favorite director, but with a tight script (co-written for the screen by him) and a great cast (see if you can spot Kevin Sorbo as Alana's father and Craig T. Nelson as the family doctor), he gives everyone a lot of humanity, especially the "Hollywood-ized" mean girl Malina (note that she wears a lot of black). He also gets a lot of credit for showing us the beauty of Hawaii, courtesy of cinematographer John Leonetti. I remained a huge fan of AnnaSophia Robb after her work in "Terabithia" and "Winn-Dixie". She couldn't be more perfect to play Bethany. She show a lot of happiness and vulnerability to play a real person like Bethany. Hunt and Quaid are amazing as her parents, showing how much compassion they have for their family, including Bethany. I will also admit that this is a film that is supposed to be for the Christian audience, but I say this is a movie for everyone, including the whole family. The shark scene will scare some younger audiences, but more than that, this movie does end with a surfing competition, but it actually leaves us with a few surprises and a sense of believing in yourself. Here's a real family film that deals with family, friends, faith and for something to believe that the best miracles are the ones that are very unexpected.
Based upon a true story.
Teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton (Robb) loses her left arm in a shark attack, and questions why this happened to her and struggles to find meaning. A trip to Thailand and the reading of her fan mail puts all into perspective. She continues surfing with one arm and becomes what she always wanted in life: to be a pro surfer. Really, this is some kind of miracle.
You know the beginning of this story and the ending as well as did the whole world when this happened. What you need to see is the middle of the story and you get a ringside seat. This was extremely well done, but bring about 4-boxes of Kleenix as you will need every one of them.
There is nothing sappy in here as it's all done as matter of fact for the most part. It is within you to determine how often you reach for the Kleenix as you witness a young girl's struggle to make sense of all this with family and friends' support.
Robb as Bethany does more than an outstanding job, and if truth be known, probably somewhat understated. Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt as the parents do what most parents would do and stand by their daughter. We all wish we had a best friend like Alana Blanchard (Nicholson) who is also a competitor and who later also becomes a pro surfer. Kevin Sorbo as Holt Blanchard is the one who probably saved Bethany's life out there on the water when the shark attacked performs the reluctant hero to perfection. I have mixed feelings about Carrie Underwood as the Christian Charity organizer as I felt she should have shown more facial emotion in consoling Bethany. Or, maybe the Director was out catching a wave at those times we will never know. Craig T. Nelson as Doctor Ravinsky was so good as the doctor I almost made an appointment. He should play those roles more often.
The real winners in here are Robb's Oscar-worthy performance and the photography during the surfing scenes. How they get the cameras in as close as they do to the contestants is unbelievable. I kept asking myself where is the cameraman when he is taking these shots. Surely, he isn't in the water right next to the competitors. Is he? This is pure movie magic. Very good.
At the end of the movie, Bethany is asked if it was all worth it as now she feels she is back. She says she couldn't have embraced as many as she has with 2-arms as she is embracing now with one arm. A truly great response as I reached for another Kleenix.
Violence: Yes, the shark attack, but not much is seen. Sex: No. Nudity: No. Gore: No. Language: No.
The film tells the inspiring true story of Bethany Hamilton (Played
here by AnnaSophia Robb), a talented young surfer who lost her arm
during a shark attack off the coast of Kauai. She trained to be able to
get back in the water, went through hardships, including how to now
live with only one arm to perform her daily chores, and kept true to
her Christian faith to compete in a regional surfing championship.
It couldn't have been easy to make as much sense of the story with seven, count 'em, seven screenwriters working on the film, and I'm surprised that the story was as well structured and paced as it was. Obviously, the clichés and sentimentality tend to go through the roof, but there's an undeniable heart behind the movie.
It's easy for me to say that Soul Surfer is the best movie Sean McNamara has ever directed, but it's still shy of greatness. He attacks the movie with ambition, but perhaps a bit too much. He too often tries to utilize the same combination of artistic flourishes that only Danny Boyle could pull off, those being frenetic editing, clever camera techniques, and thumping music. In fact, even when Boyle uses those traits, it still might not be the best fit. (see 127 Hours) The film just came across as overcut, and at times, was just too close to the border of garish.
I still say it's worth at least watching, if only for AnnaSophia Robb's performance. She gives a wonderful, fully realized performance that holds the movie together, and never falters. Her, and the rest of her cast - which includes Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, and Carrie Underwood - all play their roles with total sincerity.
It's not always perfect, but by the ending of Soul Surfer, I just couldn't help but have a lump in my throat. It is what it is, a pleasant crowd pleaser...
...so I'm gonna give it **1/2 out of ****
¨ Love is bigger than any tidal wave or fear.¨ Soul Surfer is one of
those films with a lot of heart thanks to an inspiring true story about
a young teenage girl who never gives up on her dream of becoming a
professional surfer even though she losses an arm in a shark attack.
This girl's story is one that needed to be told and one that has
inspired many other people with disabilities to continue fighting for
their dreams. Soul Surfer is far from being perfect and technically
it's not one of the better made films. You just have to see the scene
of the shark attack to realize that the technical part is way behind
other Hollywood movies that wow us with spectacular visual effects.
Soul Surfer doesn't have good visuals, the shark scene is so fake you
just want to laugh at how bad it was made, but that isn't the important
thing about this film. Other movies may have great visual effects, but
they lack story and heart. Soul Surfer has plenty of heart and the
story lets us ignore those technical aspects about the film and allows
us to enjoy the inspirational story that is being told. The cast is
actually pretty good; there are some decent performances, but nothing
spectacular either. Dennis Quaid is perhaps the best one in the film
and the lead performance from AnnaSophia Robb is also alright. The
story is actually a very inspiring one and therefore it's almost
impossible to dislike this film, but one can't help but think how much
better it could have been if the technical part wasn't so bad. This is
one of those movies that could have worked way better if it was made as
a documentary because we want to know more about the real and inspiring
Bethany Hamilton, and one of the best things about this movie was the
ending credits were we got to see some footage of her surfing and doing
AnnaSophia Robb is Bethany Hamilton, a teenage surfer who lives in Hawaii and spends most of her day in the water with her best friend, Alana Blanchard (Lorraine Nicholson) who is also a surfer. They both are getting ready for the Regional's and come from family's of professional surfers. Bethany's parents, Tom (Dennis Quaid) and Cheri (Helen Hunt), support her very much and are always there helping and training her. Bethany grew up with her two older brothers so she has grown to be very competitive and athletic. Alana's father, Holt (Kevin Sorbo), a surfer as well, is also close to the Hamilton's. The girls do great at the Regional's and end up qualifying for the Nationals. They also sign a deal for the first time with Rip Curl who wants to represent them. Bethany is at the height of her dream and is one step away from becoming a professional surfer. She continues to work hard and train for the tournament. God is also an important part of her life. When she isn't in the water she is at her church learning from their youth leader, Sarah Hill (Carrie Underwood), and helping out with missionary work. The kids are planning a trip to Mexico, but Bethany decides to stay and continue preparing for Nationals. Holt takes Alana and Bethany to a campsite where they can focus and continue training for the tournament. While they are all in the water surfing a shark suddenly attacks Bethany and bites off her arm. Bethany is rushed to a hospital where the doctors manage to save her life thanks to the composure she has kept despite losing a lot of blood. Instead of forgetting about her dreams she decides to keep on fighting for them and competing to become a professional surfer without losing her faith in God despite the accident.
It's hard to remain emotionally detached from a story that is so inspirational and although being far from perfect the producers did a decent job at telling it by not leaving out the religious aspect that was so central to Hamilton's life. This is a major improvement from Sean McNamara's latest film, Bratz, and it is actually better than most family films that have come out lately. Yes it could have been a lot better due to the powerful message the story has, but it also could have been a lot worse considering all the people that were involved with the screenplay. It's always a bad sign when you have so many people contributing to a screenplay and in this case there were seven people involved trying to adapt Hamilton's book Soul Surfer. The message still manages to get across in the film and there are several interesting scenes. Beth is such a strong girl and her faith is so unshaken even after all the ordeal she went through that for some it might be hard to identify with a character as strong as this one, but I know that there are several people like her who put their faith in God and let Him carry them through adversities without letting their faith be unshaken. All in all it is an inspiring story about a girl who finds the courage to face her fears and get back in the water in order to follow her dream. This is a film the entire family will enjoy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I knew a little about the story of this brave girl before I went to see
the film. I didn't know as much as I thought I did.
The story behind this film is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when the human spirit is in line with the spirit of God, through Jesus Christ.
The Bible is not used as a sledgehammer in this film. Rather, it is apparent that the actions of all the principles are biblically-based, meaning that the teachings of God through the Bible were at the basis of their actions.
From the impression I've gotten, including the real life outtakes during the credits, this film is very true to what actually happened. That makes it even more inspirational.
We see a young girl who went from a comfortable life to tragedy, to growing more aware of the fallen world around her. This brought her back around to herself and her relationship with Jesus Christ. It took her out of the underlying pity she felt for herself and allowed her to grow beyond it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I recall reading one of those blurb 20 sentence quarter-columns when Bettany Hamilton was bitten and survived a shark attack. It certainly sounded shocking, so from that memory, I was interested to see what the movie might be. Unfortunately director Sean McNamara has totally flubbed this project, especially the first 30 min of it. The direction is wholly AWFUL, and the dialog is vapid much of the time. The acting suffers greatly for it too. It feels like a poor After-School special or sitcom with almost continuous intercuts of feel-good poppy music or acoustics trying to somehow force-mesh scene after scene - totally cheapening what happened to the real-life girl. Actors Lines often sound like they're right off a cue card. Anyway, maybe the production should have been limited to a documentary or just leave it at a book.
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