Soul Surfer Film Review
Soul Surfer is the inspiring true story of Bethany Hamilton, who overcame all odds and became a pro surfer after losing an arm in a shark attack.
Raised by surfer parents, Bethany, superbly acted in the film by AnnaSophia Robb, is a rising star who wins her first surf competition at the young age of nine. While surfing at age thirteen, Bethany is attacked by a shark and loses her left arm. As a result, Bethany loses 60 percent of her blood and undergoes emergency surgery.
Directed by Sean McNamara, the film depicts Bethany’s family as devoted Christians who live on the island of Kauai. After the attack, Bethany’s faith is tested. She asks her youth minister, Sarah (Carrie Underwood), “How can this be God’s plan for me?”, and Sarah responds, “I don’t know why terrible things happen to us, but I have to believe something good is going to come out of this.”
At the last minute, Bethany joins her youth group on a mission trip to Thailand to help victims of a tsunami. There, she helps a small boy overcome his fear of the ocean. The act of helping someone else let go of his inhibitions metaphorically helps Bethany lose her own fears and move forward with her own life.
Elegantly photographed by John R. Leonetti, Soul Surfer is a film illustrated with magnificent imagery. Ocean waves can be calming and beautiful, but they can also represent circumstances that envelop us in pain and doubts. In the storms of life we can either reject God or we can rely on his power to rescue us from drowning.
In a recent interview, Bethany said, “I would never take my arm back in a second”, and she quoted 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.” This Scripture was also prominently placed in the film.
Bethany’s faith not only saved her, but it made her a better person. This is a lesson and example for all of us.