Soul Surfer is a dramatic and faithful retelling of Bethany Hamilton's story. Attacked by a shark at the age of 13 she bounced back and not only returned to surfing but also to competitive surfing. The movie follows how she comes to terms with the events along with looking at her family and friends.
Having read the book of the same name and seen several interviews I knew the movie did a good job of following real life events. Bethany Hamilton spent a lot of time on set and had a lot of input along with her family and her friend Alana Blanchard. One of the sad things about movies based on true stories is large deviations from the real events. I recommend watching interviews after the movie because some things you that seem unrealistic aren't.
The movie was a little cheesy in places but this wasn't over done and indeed the movie was toned down in other areas. Her recovery to go into the water may seem remarkably quick. However Bethany said when she was on the hospital set that she was a lot more upbeat than the movie shows she was in hospital. Of course she did have her struggles and the movie does a good job of showing these difficulties as well. Some small changes are necessary and Bethany and family say they're happy with the movie.
The movie has had some criticism for the faith aspect shown, but faith is central to Bethany Hamilton’s life. It's not making the story simplistic, instead it showing the strength her Christian faith has given her. There’s only a small amount of this in the movie but it's enough to show what inspires Bethany and her family. Don't let this put you off if you're not a Christian as it's not preachy. It's there to give a true account of how Bethany and her family handled the accident and aftermath.
The movie is an emotional ride that you can't help but be inspired by. All the actors give a good performance especially Anna Sophia Robb as Bethany Hamilton and Lorraine Nicholson as Alana Blanchard. Both actors display the difficult emotions and thoughts the characters had. Visually it is also stunning with Bethany Hamilton doing her own surf scenes so that the movie can look authentic.
This is an incredible story which is uplifting and challenges us all in how we face difficult times. It is a story of courage and faith for people of all ages and backgrounds. The surf scenes are incredible and despite the shark attack you will leave the movie wanting to go into the water.
Here's Bethany Hamilton's site for more on her story on her story and what she does now
You can see a trailer here.