There appears to be a providential side to losing an arm in a shark attack. Bethany Hamilton, a sponsored teenage surfer, made national headlines after she survived an attack in 2004. She made INTERnational headlines when she refused to let a silly lack of limb stop her from competing. Now, she has a multi-million dollar film poised for release.  TriStar Pictures & Film District present Sean McNamara’s Soul Surfer, starring Anna Sophia Robb, Helen Hunt, Dennis Quaid, and Carrie Underwood. The picture opens nationwide Friday, March 25.

Check out the review below…

The Players:

The Plot:

Bethany’s your bona fide beach babe: sun kissed skin, wavy blonde hair, a body that quite possibly rivals Kate Bosworth’s in Blue Crush, and a slew of sponsor’s banging down her door. Shark attack + loss of arm = athletically challenged (and not to mention a deflated spirit). The film follows the aftermath of the attack, specifically how Bethany bounces back from this traumatic accident and regains a little perspective on making the best of a bad situation.

The Good:

  • Visuals: Credits to credits Sould Surfer is a visually pleasing picture. Reminiscent of a Lords Of Dogtown with the bright palettes, skateboard/surfboard P.O.V.’s, and the beach-town-swagger environment, every frame screams “gnarly!!!”.  This coupled with at least two dozen sweeping coast line shots very much captures the spirit of Bethany’s world.
  • Story: The story itself is undoubtedly inspiring and should certainly speak to McNamara’s target audience (presumably adolescents). Everyone loves a little “coming of age” eh?

The Good/Bad:

  • Family  Crap: Clearly Bethany’s supportive, encouraging family had a substantial affect on her recovery, but the script puts major overemphasis on this fact. Chummy sibling banter, tickling, inside jokes blah blah blah – overkill. We get it, you like each other.  I’m inclined to argue that writers don’t give actors enough credit  - show us the affection, don’t declare it five times. 

The Bad:

  • Length: The first act rolls steadily, but once the attack happens this film slips down a sluggishly paced slope. There were several scenes that could’ve either been entirely eliminated or simply cut shorter, particularly the competition montages.
  • Dialogue: Stage 5 Cheesiness. And, again, these writers aren’t giving the actors OR the audience enough credit. We’re not brain dead, we can follow a plot without having every story logistic reiterated a via dialogue.
  • Carrie Underwood: For real? Girl, stick to singing.


Skip it.

Rating: 4/10

April 8th, 2011