November 22, 2013

Soul Surfer

"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. "

  Bethany Hamilton is amazing. Not because she survived her shark attack and overcame the loss her of arm, but because she did so with God's help. She is truly an inspiration of what trusting God and following His plan really means. I have her biography and devotional books, both of with I love.
And I love her movie. And that, my readers, is what this review is all about!

 So, to you who know nothing about her, Bethany was just another 13-year-old girl living in Hawaii. Growing up with parents who loved to surf, she too became a die-hard surfer.



"Surfing is my passion, my way of life.

                  The stoke I get from riding a perfect wave is pure joy."

The real Bethany surfing

  Her life was changed upside down when she was surfing with her friends on Halloween morning, 2003.

  She didn't even see it coming. A shark came, a shark went, and her arm was gone. She was rushed to the hospital and lost 60% of her blood. She would have died if not for the fact that she kept herself calm. How did she keep herself calm?

  God kept her calm.

  The movie follows Bethany's journey of coping with the loss of her arm and learning to surf again. To this day, she's surfing professionally!
Before you watch the movie, I would recommend reading her autobiography first. It tells all about her, her family, and how everything really happened. Granted the movie follows her actual life pretty close, but there's always some fiction in a movie based on real life.
  Such as the part early in the film where Bethany sneaks off in the middle of the night with her BF Alana to go night-surfing.  "What?? I don't think the real Bethany would do that!!" She certainly never mentions it being true, and I would hope Bethany would be more conscientious than to sneak off without telling her parents and knowing they wouldn't approve!  I think that the movie producers used it to build suspense for her attack, but couldn't they have built it a different way? Her parents find out later and scold her, but it's still kinda treated as no big deal.

AnnaSophia and Bethany (right)

  Bethany is played by AnnaSophia Robb. She did a great job acting, although it's hilarious because the real Bethany is 5'11" and AnnaSophia is only 5'2"!  She brought a lot of emotion to the scenes where she's accepting the loss of her arm. Like when she's talking to her youth pastor, Sarah (played by Carrie Underwood). I cry every time.

 One thing I'd like to mention is the soundtrack. It. Is. A-mazing.  The score itself is beautiful. It has the perfect tropical Hawaii sound to it, while sounding wistful and inspiring's just lovely. Look it up on Amazon and listen to the samples. Or even better watch the movie.
 The songs are very fun and upbeat. It has several from Britt Nicole ("Like a Star" and my personal favorite "Set the World on Fire") and one of my favorite Francesca Battistelli songs- "It's Your Life". 
They're are some fun non-Christian songs like "Sound of Sunshine" and "This is the Life". I haven't heard the entire song apart from what's included in the movie, so I can't say for sure I approve of all of them. But what's included in the film is clean! :)
The last song included, "Firework" is by Chris Sligh-anyone who's seen October Baby will know him as B-mac, who also did some of the songs for that movie.

AnnaSophia as Bethany (left) and Lorraine Nicolson as Alana
  Even though the movie has Christian elements and all that, I'd have to say I'm disappointed it doesn't have more. I mean, Jesus is the biggest thing in Bethany's life, how about making that the ultimate theme of the movie? Obviously surfing without her arm is the main plot, but Jesus can be the theme. Well, hopefully the movie will make people want to read her biography which has more about her faith in it! The movie also includes her documentary, which is a really good insight into her life. It has footage of her before and after the attack, interviews, videos of her surfing and more!

 One word: bikinis. The real Bethany herself wears bikinis, she says that's just how it is in Hawaii. (Note: While I don't wear/approve of bikinis, it's not my place to judge anyone for wearing them. Everyone has different standards and to some Christians, even my swim shorts and tank tops would seem immodest! So, don't think I'm pointing fingers or judging.)
With that in mind, I personally wouldn't recommend younger boys/guys seeing this movie. It's not like they're the worst, skimpiest bikinis, but they're still bikinis and show a lot of skin!

 In one scene, Alana is posing for their new sponsor Rip Curl. She's in a bikini and there are guys around in the background watching. (On the cover of her books and posters, Bethany usually wears tank tops and shorts over her bikinis. She doesn't pose in her swimsuit. But apparently Alana does, as shown in the movie!)
 In her biography, Bethany does express some concern over this scene. She was hesitant about it, but said she's glad the producers picked a more "modest" bikini. (But, if bikinis can indeed be modest, I don't think the one they picked was very modest at all!)  Then again, perhaps Bethany has since regretted having that scene in her movie. Regardless, I'd recommend skipping that scene if watching with guys.

  Then, of course, there is some intense scenes with the shark attack. Blood is seen in the water and soaked through her makeshift bandage. The scene could very easily make younger kids (and maybe older kids as well!) paranoid of swimming at the beach. But I think they filmed it really well. It's intense, but not gory.

  Aside from some caution about bikinis and shark attacks, I would totally recommend this movie!! Rating: 8/10

  To any of you who do know of Bethany Hamilton, she just got married! You can read more about it on her website

Aren't they so cute?
Her wedding dress!


  1. I love this movie, too! The music is incredible--my favorite track is "Bethany's Wave," there at the ending competion:)

    She got married?!?! Excuse me while I go die of sheer happiness…:D

    1. I knnnoooowww!! The music is gorgeous. It gives me chills and it's so beautiful. I need to watch this movie again! I haven't in a while.

      Yes!!! She did! And she's now expecting a baby!! It's due in June, I think. :D


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