SOUL SURFER SPLASHES INTO THEATERS
Many of you have heard the true story of Bethany Hamilton. She was a teen surfer from Hawaii who had her arm bitten off in a shark attack in 2003. Against all odds, she returned to the water to surf again. And now you can see the movie chronicling her experience, Soul Surfer (rated PG) in theaters.
It stars AnnaSophia Robb (from Race to Witch Mountain, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The Bridge to Terabithia) as Bethany Hamilton. AnnaSophia worked with Bethany and became friends with her doing the movie, and you can tell on screen. I recently saw the movie at a media screening, and thought it was amazing. But warning: it’s a tear jerker. I had to hold back tears several times, and judging from the sound of sniffles in the theater, so did my fellow movie reviewers (and these were adults by the way!).
Basically, the movie starts with Bethany as a kid, surfing in Hawaii. Born to famous surfing parents, she won her first surfing competition at age 8. She surfed with her best friend Alana, and they got sponsored by major surfing companies. On Halloween morning 2003, while they were surfing, a 14-foot tiger shark bit off her left arm. I swear I jumped a foot in my seat during this scene! I wasn’t expecting it at that point.
After undergoing many surgeries, and refusing a prosthetic arm, Bethany returned to surfing. Her whole struggle was gut wrenching. Her faith in God helped her a lot. In the movie, her youth group leader (played by Carrie Underwood) took her to Thailand to help the victims of a tsunami. This opened her eyes to others’ suffering, and eventually led her to leadership roles helping others. Not to mention, she also went on to win a 2007 National Surfing Championship, and turned pro!
On my way out of the movie, I was chatting with a New York City newspaper reporter, who was also reviewing the movie. She said she thought the acting was a bit melodramatic and overdone. I was like, “But the girl just got her arm bitten off by a shark!” Honestly, I forgave the drama in the movie. I thought it was really an amazing story, and the movie did it justice. I had known about the story from the news, but the movie really put a cool spin on it. It was very uplifting.
What do you guys think? Have you seen Soul Surfer or read the book? Drop a line in the Comments!
—Ratha, Stacks Writer