Movie Review: Soul Surfer
An inspiring true story could have been a better movie
Opens: Friday, April 8, 2011
Personally, I find the story of Bethany Hamilton to be truly inspiring. It blows my mind to see a young girl with only one arm compete in an intense sport like surfing. I want to surf now just because of her!
While the movie Soul Surfer has inspirational moments, it sadly does not do justice to the real life story.
The acting in the film, especially from the adult cast, is what makes this movie okay to sit through. With an over-sentimental script, you could almost see the actors struggling to make their lines not sound wooden.
Kevin Sorbo delivers my personal favorite performance of the entire film, being completely believable throughout. Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt also did a great job playing Bethany Hamilton's parents. The younger cast was also fine, especially Ross Thomas and Chris Brochu (Bethany's brothers) and Sonya Balmores Chung (Bethany's rival).
And what about our star, AnnaSophia Robb? She's good in a role that is hard to play. Just one thing bugs me about her: she is unbelievable as a surfer. Robb's body type is very petite and different from the body double they used for the stunt surfing shown on screen. It's also different from Bethany's, who acts as the stunt double on many of the scenes after the accident.
To me, she also lacked that adventurous spark that Bethany Hamilton has in real life. But she brings Bethany's soft, caring side to the screen, and she does that very well.
The best parts of this film don't have to do with the central story. I was very impressed with the scenes set in Thailand, where Bethany went to do charity work with her church group after that country was hit by a tsunami. AnnaSophia Robb really shined when she reenacted how Bethany taught a little boy, and eventually a whole group of people, how to surf. This was also Carrie Underwood's best moment in the film. She plays Bethany's Christian youth group leader.
Overall, the film is pretty good. My biggest problem is that it could have been so much better.
Check out Scholastic News Kid Reporter Miranda Rector's interviews with the cast and director of the film.
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