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Soul Surfer Reviews

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Will Leitch
Deadspin

A well-intentioned, big-hearted, wannabe-crowd-pleaser that just happens to be so incompetently made that it might be rejected by Oprah's channel.

Full Review Source: Deadspin | Original Score: C

June 23, 2013
Neil Pond
American Profile

Inspiring true story wipes out on underdog clichés and waves of melodramatic Hollywood cheese.

Full Review Source: American Profile | Original Score: 2/5

September 9, 2011
Francesca Steele
Sky Movies

Unless you like your inspiration in heavy-handed doses, you might be better off watching the real thing - on YouTube.

Full Review Source: Sky Movies | Original Score: 1/5

September 21, 2011
Christine Champ
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Soul Surfer seems simply too sugar-coated to be true.

Full Review Source: Film.com | Original Score: C

May 6, 2011
Grae Drake
Movies.com

As inspiring as expected.

Full Review Source: Movies.com | Original Score: 2/5

May 20, 2011
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
Ebert Presents At The Movies

The film offers motivational catch phrases instead of any real insights into Hamilton's character or the religion that the film constantly reminds us is so central to her life.

Full Review Source: Ebert Presents At The Movies

April 13, 2011
Alexandra Cavallo
Boston Phoenix

This movie relies on cheese when it could have striven for heart.

Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix

April 7, 2011
Glenn Heath Jr.
Slant Magazine

The brazenly cheap look to the special effects sends the film into MST3K territory, and it's certainly the most hilariously awful surprise attack by a shark since Samuel L. Jackson got devoured by one in Deep Blue Sea.

Full Review Source: Slant Magazine | Original Score: 0/4

April 13, 2011
Martyn Conterio
Little White Lies

A surf film employing massive amounts of CG is incredible for all the wrong reasons.

Full Review Source: Little White Lies | Original Score: 1/5

September 22, 2011
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The flaw in the storytelling strategy of "Soul Surfer" is that it doesn't make Bethany easy to identify with. She's almost eerie in her optimism. Her religious faith is so unshaken, it feels taken for granted.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 2.5/4

April 8, 2011
Simon Foster
sbs.com.au

Hamilton's story is a human one with spiritual underpinnings, yet to the detriment of the inherent drama, the filmmaker tells it the other way around.

Full Review Source: sbs.com.au

May 29, 2011
Clint O'Connor
Cleveland Plain Dealer

An inspiring story about the amazing Bethany Hamilton, with some terrifc surfing footage. Why oh why did it have to be drenched in Disney Channel Cheery?

Full Review Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer | Original Score: C+

April 12, 2011
Aaron Hillis
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Nearly every conflict is built on market-tested platitudes of empowerment and registers as insincere.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

April 6, 2011
Mike Scott
Times-Picayune

Director Sean McNamara's relentlessly shiny, happy outlook crosses the line between believable and artificial by about the 10-minute mark

Full Review Source: Times-Picayune | Original Score: 2/4

April 27, 2011
Brett Michel
Boston Herald

Robb makes an appealing screen presence; the dodgy effects work on her shape-changing stump? Not so much.

Full Review Source: Boston Herald | Original Score: D

April 13, 2011
Kathleen Murphy
MSN Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Too bad that no-talent director Sean McNamara and a committee of screenwriters have dumbed down Soul Surfer to a simplistic mishmash of youth fellowship homily and Hawaii tourism ad.

Full Review Source: MSN Movies | Original Score: 1/5

April 6, 2011
Caroline Jowett
Daily Express

The film is sincere and even a little sanctimonious in the way it depicts Hamilton's family, strong Christian values and work with post-tsunami orphans in Phuket.

Full Review Source: Daily Express | Original Score: 2/5

September 23, 2011
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An inspiring true-life story gets a less-than-inspired film dramatization.

Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter

March 28, 2011
David Hiltbrand
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Just goes to show that the Gospel isn't always right. Faith clearly does not assure a good movie.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

April 7, 2011
Katey Rich
CinemaBlend.com

A movie of easily digestible truths and canned inspirational messages, taking every possible easy route though a story that could have used a few more thorns.

Full Review Source: CinemaBlend.com | Original Score: 2.5/5

April 7, 2011
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