Bethany Hamilton (AnnaSophia Robb) is a motivated and talented teen from a chill-laxed “surfer-dude” family. She harbors high hopes to go pro and full-fill her dreams as a top female surfer in the idyllic paradise of her home in Kauai, Hawaii. However, on Halloween morning she is suddenly attacked by a 14-foot Tiger shark while surfing with her best-buddy, Alana (Loraine Nicholson).
The shark bites off her entire arm and her life and career goals seem to disappear as quickly. But Bethany learns to work – even fight – for what she wants in life sans one arm and with the help of her parents (Tom (Dennis Quaid) Cheri (Helen Hunt)) and church group leader Sara (Carrie Underwood) she not only achieves, but succeeds beyond her wildest expectations. The story is so ‘over-the-top unbelievable’ that you wouldn’t even bother to see the film except for the fact that it is 100% true.
The movie, however, sentimental and often bordering on saccharine at times, is a tribute to a chick who totally embraces and exudes girl power. She is tough, resilient, optimistic, and a believer in herself, her faith and possibilities that otherwise seem beyond her ability. It is an uplifting story about the importance of family, friends and faith. Bethany is a high achiever, no doubt, but Soul Surfer makes the point that it ‘takes a village’ to make a champion and perhaps ‘no girl is an island,’ not even one as extraordinary and driven as Bethany Hamilton.
Everyone should give a copy of this film to every little (or even big) girl they know (it came out in theaters in April and hit DVD in August). There are a lot of important lessons in the movie that anybody can benefit from learning or even relearning. Namely, that it’s often in the face of adversity that our most pivotal and prideful moments occur – and those moments are almost always fueled by painfully hard work, persistence and loads of passion.
Cheers to Bethany Hamilton and Soul Surfer; an Adventure Woman and an adventurously inspiring movie.