Our family went to see the movie Soul Surfer last weekend. We all thought it was an absolutely amazing movie and highly recommend it to all. I had only seen some previews on TV and thought it would be an inspirational movie for our family to see together. I hadn’t heard much else about it. (Now I am hearing lots about it.) It is an inspiring movie about faith, family, hope, determination and overcoming tragedy. And, there are really good Christian messages throughout the movie.
The movie is based on a true story about Bethany Hamilton, a young surfer that was attacked by a shark. Bethany Hamilton grew up in Hawaii with her mom, dad, and 2 brothers. They are a surfer family, and a Christian family. When Bethany was 13, she was attacked by a 14ft. tiger shark that bit off her left arm. She lost 60% of her blood and had several surgeries. During her recovery, she maintained a positive attitude, and returned to the water after only one month. A little over a year after her attack, she won her 1st National Surfing Title.
I have seen other Christian movies in the past, which I really enjoyed. However, while their messages were great, they didn’t boast many big name actors, and you could tell they didn’t have a big production budget. This movie is different. It has great quality – the surfing scenes are fantastic. Additionally, it has some pretty big stars: Bethany is played by AnnaSophia Robb; her parents are played by Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt; her doctor is played by Craig T. Nelson; a close family friend is played by Kevin Sorbo; and her youth leader is played by Carrie Underwood.
One of my favorite parts of the movie is when Bethany’s Youth Leader is holding class for the youth group and she shows several pictures very close up and you can’t tell what they are until she moves the camera back to see a bigger picture of the object. She teaches a lesson about how sometimes we need to step back and see the whole picture. Later in the film, (after the shark attack) Bethany asks her youth leader how this can be God’s plan for her life. The youth leader tells Bethany she does not know why this has happened to her, but has to “believe something good is going to come out of this.” After stepping back and watching the whole movie, it is clear that something good did come out of this tragedy.
The movie helps communicate that “you can do all things through Him who gives you strength”. It includes scenes of the family attending church services and singing praise songs, shows Bethany attending an overseas mission trip with her youth group, and quotes Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” But, the really best part of this message, is listed in the credits after the film. So be sure to stay and read the credits. In the part where the Hamilton family lists all those they would like to thank, Jesus Christ is listed as number one. That gave me chills, and brought yet another tear to my eye.
The movie is rated PG, mainly because of the intense accident sequence (shark attack). This might be upsetting for some younger viewers. We told our daughter what was going to happen to prepare her for it and she was fine. Note – she is 11. My family gives this movie “Three Thumbs Up”! See it as a family. See it with a friend; use it as on outreach opportunity. Just see it.