Soul Surfer - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Soul Surfer Reviews

Top Critic
Trevor Johnston
Time Out
September 21, 2011
A succession of would-be rousing clichés.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Christine Champ
Film.com
May 6, 2011
Soul Surfer seems simply too sugar-coated to be true.
Full Review | Original Score: C
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
April 10, 2011
You wonder why this movie isn't a documentary, rather than a synthetic feature film with the heroine's arm digitally removed.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
April 9, 2011
Hamilton is played, blandly, by Anna Sophia Robb, and her devoted parents, less bland, are played by Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt. The surfing footage, much of it shot off the coast of Kauai, is not bland at all.
Full Review | Original Score: C
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
April 8, 2011
It's Bethany and Alana's friendship - its sturdiness and vulnerability, its laughs and sincere apologies - that rules the day.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
April 8, 2011
A by-the-numbers biopic about young surfer Bethany Hamilton.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
April 8, 2011
For plenty of family viewers, this film will catch a wave.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
April 8, 2011
An inspiring tale, even when true, doesn't necessarily make for an inspiring movie.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Linda Barnard
Toronto Star
April 8, 2011
Given the heroic subject, the movie is as thrilling as a dish of rice pudding, a made-for-TV-style effort that rides a wave of religious sentiment into theatres.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
April 8, 2011
The swells of inspirational storytelling sometimes threaten to swamp the underlying inspirational story.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
April 8, 2011
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 | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
April 8, 2011
Shamelessly pandering to the elusive Christian family audience, a committee of 18 producers and seven writers has removed nearly every trace of grit from this airbrushed portrait.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
April 8, 2011
It's a compelling tale of surf and survival.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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John Anderson
Wall Street Journal
April 7, 2011
Its bubbling optimism and spectacular scenery are hard not to like.
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
April 7, 2011
Bethany's determination and faith are remarkable. It's too bad this movie made a brave young woman's life appear like an unremarkable soap opera.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Peter Hartlaub
San Francisco Chronicle
April 7, 2011
The surfer's story is so made-for-cinema that a complete wipeout seems almost impossible. And yet the filmmakers come pretty close.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Andy Webster
New York Times
April 7, 2011
As a portrait of a spirited, resilient athlete, the movie succeeds best, unafraid to face its heroine's daunting challenges directly.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
April 7, 2011
Though it flirts with saccharine Sunday-school uplift, there's a redeeming core of sincerity in this story of real-life tragedy and perseverance.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
April 7, 2011
The best moments come when Robb's all-purpose toughness experiences vulnerable doubt. These moments are flickers, but they're bright and human.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Tasha Robinson
AV Club
April 7, 2011
Somewhere not far beneath the glossy pop skin of Soul Surfer, the true story of Bethany Hamilton is struggling to get out.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Glenn Whipp
Chicago Tribune
April 7, 2011
That "Soul Surfer" rates as a giant leap for this team speaks well about the conviction the movie's actors bring to the material as well as the respect afforded the Hamilton family and their faith.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Andrea Gronvall
Chicago Reader
April 7, 2011
AnnaSophia Robb is too subdued as the teenage heroine; one might expect more affect from a young woman fighting to overcome disability and return to competitive surfing.
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David Hiltbrand
Philadelphia Inquirer
April 7, 2011
Just goes to show that the Gospel isn't always right. Faith clearly does not assure a good movie.
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Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out New York
April 6, 2011
What does it mean that this sports melodrama made for tweens shows more craft and heart than most of the year's grown-up Hollywood fare?
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Christy Lemire
Associated Press
April 6, 2011
Soul Surfer takes that story of complex emotions, determination and faith and turns it into overly simplistic mush.
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
April 6, 2011
Soul Surfer, while formulaic in design, is an authentic and heartfelt movie.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Aaron Hillis
Village Voice
April 6, 2011
Nearly every conflict is built on market-tested platitudes of empowerment and registers as insincere.
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Kathleen Murphy
MSN Movies
April 6, 2011
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 | Original Score: 1/5
Top Critic
Rob Nelson
Variety
March 28, 2011
The true story of one-armed surfer girl Bethany Hamilton keeps its balance in Soul Surfer, a kind-hearted coming-of-age drama with killer waves.
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
March 28, 2011
An inspiring true-life story gets a less-than-inspired film dramatization.