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Soul Surfer Reviews

Page 1 of 143
Albert K

Super Reviewer

April 30, 2012
I like how the RottenTomatoes consensus put it: "There's an amazing true story at the heart of Soul Surfer -- and unfortunately, it's drowned by waves of Hollywood cheese." Yup, with material like this, it's hard to go wrong, but boy, it was freaking cheesy. I found myself cringing a lot at the laughably and poorly written dialogue, the mediocre acting (Sorry Carrie Underwood, you're a devout Christian and an EXCELLENT musician, which is all very inspiring, but acting ain't your thing), and the poor execution in storytelling. "What's up, Disney Channel?" As a Christian, I find myself cringing at the attempt to make an inspiring Christian-themed movie, but surprisingly, "Soul Surfer" as a Christian movie, wasn't THAT bad compared to the many other Christian movies. Let me tell you, there are some horrifyingly, awful Christian movies out there.

You'll be pleasantly welcomed by the B-movie feel "Soul Surfer" has. It's not preachy or pretentious; deep down, there's a lot of purity and heart injected into this movie. There's a particular scene involving the Bethany, the main protagonist, that effectively agitates the audience's emotions, all without a word being said. Even the message was good-hearted, pure, and a relief, especially among a movie industry filled with dark and unsettling themes. Surprisingly, "Soul Surfer" as a Christian movie, manages to catch a couple of waves, but that's where it ends. The movie suffers from horrible pacing issues, mainly due to the fact that the incident that occurs, and the result afterwards are the only solid material "Soul Surfer" has for its narrative. The spaces in between are nothing more than fillers, and what dull fillers they are. The editing is sporadically all over the place, and the dialogue makes me shudder.

Phew, this is one big cheeseball. Nevertheless, it's a good movie for children and is a surprisingly effective Christian-themed film -- just don't take your film critique crew to watch this. There IS an amazing true story at the heart of Soul Surfer -- and unfortunately, it's drowned by waves of Hollywood cheese... to the max.
Japes
Japes

Super Reviewer

December 31, 2011
Way too shallow. The true story it's trying to tell is inspiring and exciting, but the story in the movie wasn't.

The shark attack could've been a really cool scene, but it's over in like 3 seconds. It's kind of unbelievable that a shark would just do that. The shark probably wouldn't have even stuck his head out of the water. It just seemed a little unrealistic, I'd kind of like to hear what really happened to Bethany in the water with the shark.

The movie itself is very cheesy and I wasn't really "inspired" at all. I think the credits were the best part where you actually got to see Bethany surf. The credits were my favorite, everything else needed some work. Especially the acting on Anasophia Robb (sp?). You just got your arm bitten off by a shark...let's see some real tears and emotional breakdowns. She seemed way too calm about the entire ordeal.
deano
deano

Super Reviewer

November 18, 2010
What an incredible true story of Hawaiian female champion surfer, Brittany Hamilton (Anna SophiaRobb) has the perfect-est life with the perfect-est family until, one day, the CGI-est shark comes along and chomps off her arm, that shocked me, while she's hanging 10. Set in Hawaii, this is one of the most beautiful - and kid-friendly - films to feature dismemberment.
It's okay because Brittany's misfortune will lead her down a path that teaches her the power of love. All of the soul in Soul Surfer is like guzzling maple syrup while someone tries to make you cry.
Finely calibrated to the tween market, this story of triumph over adversity rides on an upbeat soundtrack and plenty of surf action. Director Sean McNamara speeds along/above/behind the waves with frenetic vigour, but also captures the sport's meditative nature.
KJ P

Super Reviewer

April 5, 2011
Although I may be a sucker for heartfelt true stories, this film truly represents the courage and inspiration that Bethany Hamilton had not only on her peers, but her inspiration across the entire nation. Annasophia Robb was a perfect choice as the lead star and the entire cast holds their own as well. This film definitely is filled with hollywood cheese and some of the dialogue might be pretty corny at times, but the story is told so beautifully that the cheesy lines actually sent chills down my spine. The acting may be average, but why does such a moving story need amazing acting, it hides everything and makes you love all the characters. Soul Surfer is an extremely powerful story and I would really like to call it a great film, but it is not quite that high, because the film revolves around the shark that bit off her arm, which was done kind of poorly in my opinion and nobody reacted the way they were supposed to. Overall, this film is very good and I was moved!
Cynthia S

Super Reviewer

August 7, 2011
Entertaining dramatization of the inspirational true story of teen surfer Bethany Hamilton. She was attacked by a shark while surfing, and lost her left arm, but still went on to compete in the world championships. Wonderfully done. Really good cast.
DreamExtractor
DreamExtractor

Super Reviewer

March 18, 2011
I enjoyed Soul Surfer, but it suffered the main problem almost every inspirational movie based on a true story has, and that problem is Hollywood. The story is about Bethany (AnnaSophia Robb), a girl who was born to surf. A natural talent who took to the waves at a young age, she was leading an idyllic life on Kauai, participating in national surf competitions with her best friend Alana (Lorraine Nicholson), when everything changed. On Halloween morning, a 14-foot tiger shark came out of nowhere and seemed to shatter all her dreams. Soul Surfer reveals Bethany's fight to recover from her ordeal and how she grappled with the question of her future. Strengthened by the love of her parents, Tom (Dennis Quaid) and Cheri (Helen Hunt), and supported by her youth group leader Sara (Carrie Underwood), Bethany refuses to give in or give up, and begins a bold return to the water. The plot of the film never became boring, it never tried to be stupid, and it tried hard to inspire people such as the true story of Bethany Hammleton, but there were thjings like I said where Hollywood has to move in and ruin some things. The cast was good, AnnaSophia Robb made a great performance, while Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid play good performances, but the mighty hand of Hollywood has taken its toll on most of the roles of this film, and it seemed a little to inspirational, I mean for me there is a limit on how much cliche they put in this, like when the mean girl in this film wore black in like every scene, I mean come on, was I the only one thinking how stupid and cliche that was, in real life do you think that girl was wearing black everytime to show off her villainous side. I usually only mention the score in my reviews when its really good, and here it was really good, it had the hawaiin feel to it which really was cool, seeing as I have been to Hawaii and it was cool to remember the music from my trips there. This movie was not great, but it was good, and I enjoy the love for God they give in this film, and the moral which is determination that if you love doing something, nothng in the world will stop you from doing it, and even though Hollywood tried to ruin this movie, its still a good movie that i recommend to everyone who enjoys and happy film.
Pedro H

Super Reviewer

March 14, 2011
When you come back from a loss, beat the odds, and never say never, you find a champion.

Beautiful

The beautiful story of Bethany Hamilton and how she overcame loosing and arm and continue doing what she truly loved-Surf.

Overall its a very emotional movie, very worth watching, every scene is beautiful, not only the acting, but the soundtrack, photography and the story itself. I really loved this movie and recommend it for everyone.

Bethany Hamilton: "I don't need easy. I just need possible."
Alexander D

Super Reviewer

June 14, 2011
SOUL SURFER is like JAWS in a family movie. Actually, the one scene in which Bethany Hamilton gets her arm torn off by the shark is just about as graphic as JAWS, and the music played during those many moments is frightening (to tell you the truth, just because of all the blood spilled in that one scene, the PG rating surprised me). Otherwise, SOUL SURFER is a very good post-shark attack film that is very positively portrayed. Unfortunately, with an all-star cast of child actress AnnaSophia Robb (BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE, BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA), country musician Carrie Underwood (singer of "Before He Cheats", "Jesus, Take the Wheel"), actress Helen Hunt (CAST AWAY, TWISTER), and actor Dennis Quaid (TRAFFIC, BREAKING AWAY), this movie fails to have very good acting.
MANUGINO
MANUGINO

Super Reviewer

April 7, 2011
When you come back from a loss, beat the odds, and never say never, you find a champion.

Excellent film! Annasophia Robb did an amazing job. The movie was directed fairly well and all the actors were very good at their roles, however i thought the ending was a twist and wasn't easily expected because of how the movie was going. I think this movie is great for emotional people. like i said it brings you into the story and the ending credits are pretty cool also. I think most people will enjoy watching it but only emotional people could really connect to it. Highly recommended!

'Soul Surfer' is the inspiring true story of teen surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack and courageously overcame all odds to become a champion again, through her sheer determination and unwavering faith. The film features an all-star cast, including AnnaSophia Robb and Helen Hunt, with Carrie Underwood in her film debut, and Dennis Quaid. In the wake of this life-changing event that took her arm and nearly her life, Bethany's feisty determination and steadfast beliefs spur her toward an adventurous comeback that gives her the grit to turn her loss into a gift for others.
Everett J

Super Reviewer

July 10, 2011
Good inspirational surfing movie, about a girl who loses her arm and continues to surf on. AnnaSophia Robb gives a great performance, and never makes the movie feel too melodramatic. This could have easily been a "lifetime" movie, but she really keeps the movie from falling into that trap. After watching "Soul Surfer" you'll probably want to go to Hawaii and surf. The locations really pop, and made me want to hop on a plane and take a trip down there. The movies sags a little in the middle, but quickly finds it's way back. Women and girls will probably like it more than guys, but I found it to be pretty good. As far as inspirational sports movies goes, this isn't the best, but it's probably a top ten.
Screeny
Screeny

Super Reviewer

April 22, 2011
Gaining only little attention, Soul Surfer is the most underrated film of 2011 so far! It's a damn shame too because its groundbreaking story that inspires us to believe that anything is possible is enough to walk out of this film proud.

It usually bothers me when inspirational true stories like "Soul Surfer" don't gain any attention out of movie-goers nowadays. What happened to "Secretariat"? Sure, that movie had Hollywood written all over it, and I'm sure some things were changed for the sake of entertainment, but we hardly get movies like this anymore so when they do come out, we should make them count. Anyways, with "Soul Surfer", I'm kind of glad this movie isn't getting any of the little attention it deserves. This is the movie that people will eventually remember when it comes out on DVD, give it a watch, and really wish they gave it a chance when it first came out. Hopefully the film will get its chance at that. It's the people who did give this movie a shot, though, that know how decent this movie actually is and that this is the most underrated film of 2011 thus far. It is those who are skipping this one based on cheesy trailers that are missing out on something actually inspirational.

I walked into "Soul Surfer" only knowing one little detail from the film: it was a true story of a teenage surfer who loses her arm to a shark attack. I never knew who Bethany Hamilton was and after watching this movie, and seeing all the attention she gained from the media, I'm surprised that I've never read about her story before. This is another reason why true stories like this should be seen, not based on how the film is made by our standards, but to learn of the character's story because if I've never heard of Bethany Hamilton before, I'm sure there are plenty of others who haven't either. I walked out of "Soul Surfer", not inspired, but pleased. I was happy to see that this girl had fought against her demons and done so well with her passion of surfing with just one arm. It lets the audience know that anything is possible, and though we've seen this done in movies thousands of times, it is something done I could witness over and over in the movie business because these are the stories that create dreams.

Based on the book of the same title, by Bethany Hamilton herself, the film obviously focuses on the time period around her traumatic shark attack. I've never read the book but I've read plenty of positive reviews of it online. Since the publishing of her book, not only has Bethany become pro in surfing but has written over six other books as well. It seems that probably the worst day of her life started some of her best days because Bethany has certainly become the inspiration to many over the last few years.

In my own opinion, the movie started off a little too cliché. We are introduced to Bethany and her too-perfect family and everything in her life was perfection. It just felt a little odd, the way they presented the characters to us. Before the shark attack, which felt like it took a good hour after the movie started, we get a good feeling of who each character is in the movie and how they connect to Bethany's life. Starting off with a competition, in which her and her best friend both compete, Bethany doesn't even struggle to win first place. Well, the movie tries to make it unpredictable but we all know she's going to win because it shows a before and after piece. We see how easy it is for her with both arms, and then of course once she loses one, we see her incredible struggle to surf. Right before losing her arm, Bethany and her best friend were both sponsored. Bethany's dream had come true, and of course, all the perfection had to end somewhere. From the point in which she loses an arm, the movie does what it can to inspire us to do great things and while it doesn't succeed at every chance it tries to touch us, we get the point in the end and it still manages to do so.

What seemed a little odd is how Bethany didn't have much emotion after losing her arm. Without a scream during the attack it was understandable because she was in shock but waking up in the hospital and not showing anything at all felt off-key. Instead, when Bethany finally returns home, she isn't worried about the new lifestyle she'll have to get used to but she worries that she'll never be able to surf again. Although the movies does more to show her struggle to surf than it does to show her struggle with her new life, we do get one scene right after she returns home where Bethany finally realizes life will be harder for her now. Helping her mother and brothers make sandwiches might sound easy with just an arm, but she couldn't even open the bag of bread. That was the scene that shined on us. The scene that told us that this wasn't just going to be an uplifting tale from start to finish, but it'd be a depressing ride to get to that inspiration. At least that's the direction I'd thought the film was going to go in during that scene...

The performances in the movie are only decent. I can admit though that this would be the first time I really liked AnnaSophia Robb in a movie. The only problem, however, that I had with her being casted was that she didn't fit the role of Bethany Hamilton. Hamilton was only supposed to be thirteen at the time of the attack and Robb being seventeen, it didn't really seem to work out. Instead of getting the idea that Hamilton was only a young teen, I got the idea that she was a young adult instead. You can see the difference. I would have rather seen Abrigail Breslin in the role because not only does she fit the age a little more but she is a much better actress as well. Other performances by Dennis Quaid (Can anyone tell me what happened to this guy?) and Helen Hunt (Her too?) are decent, but with a messy script to mess with it can be hard to give great performances. The best performance in the film surprisingly goes to Carrie Underwood, however. Being a very big influence to Hamilton in the movie and to the audience as well, Underwood does a great job outshining in every scene she's in. I wish she was in more of this because I highly enjoyed all of her scenes.

Taking place in Kauai Hawaii, "Soul Surfer" is obviously a delight to look at. Sean McNamara presents us beautiful ocean shots and the cinematography on the film is wondrous. If it wasn't for the cartoon shark, I'd say that the look on the film was absolutely perfect and astounding! With this movie, though, once things get great something bounds to make it only decent.

Sometimes the movie goes a little overboard in trying to touch the audience. With cheesy, over-the-top lines that make you feel like you're watching a movie straight of the Disney Channel network, it can be hard to actually feel something for these characters. Also with a strong moral of God's faith, it could be hard for some to connect to it as well. As for me, I got past some of the script's messy partings and enjoyed everything else. The movie isn't perfect but that doesn't mean it still isn't decent. After a horrible bomb at the box-office, I feel sort of bad for this movie. Out of all the movies playing right now, I say that this should be one of your first choices, because it certainly has the best conclusion out of it. It has its bumps here and there, but it all thankfully works out in the end. See it.
Willy T
Willy T

Super Reviewer

April 22, 2011
This is the true story of Bethany Hamilton, a girl who got her left arm bitten off by a Tiger Shark while she was surfing in her home of Hawaii. She is now 21, still works around the problems with only one arm, and is a professional surfer. The movie does a fine job of portraying her story. Many of the actors give great, emotional performances that are real and inspiring. Carrie Underwood is not as good as I'd hoped in this role as her acting seems a little tacky. But I give her credit for her tackling her first big role and going in a different direction than being a singer. And, she's still hot! Anna-Sophia Robb from "Bridge to Terabithia" does a fantastic job here portraying the main character. The settings are beautifully quaint as well as the music which joins in wonderfully throughout the film. The script is kind of like a Disney Channel movie in that it has cookie cutter way of making everything seem happy. Don't get me wrong, the story is very inspirational and may have some choked up in certain parts. It's worth seeing in the theatre for it's inspirational and heartwarming story.
Dorian G.
Dorian G.

Super Reviewer

December 3, 2010
I got to see a private screening of this movie in Nashville. This was by far the best Christian based movie I have ever seen. The story of Bethany Davis is incredible and even if you don't care for the story the scenery is pretty amazing too. It held a powerful message of not giving up even when everyone tells you it's ok if you back down and no one will think any different of you. Her amazingly true story will either make you want to take up surfing or hopefully have you realize that you are loved by God no matter what and that is where your true strength lies. Davis learns that even though she has lost her arm that she is able to pursue her dream of being a professional surfer with the support of her parents, youth director, and most importantly God.
Bradley W

Super Reviewer

December 2, 2011
I enjoyed Soul Surfer, but it suffered the main problem almost every inspirational movie based on a true story has, and that problem is Hollywood. The story is about Bethany (AnnaSophia Robb), a girl who was born to surf. A natural talent who took to the waves at a young age, she was leading an idyllic life on Kauai, participating in national surf competitions with her best friend Alana (Lorraine Nicholson), when everything changed. On Halloween morning, a 14-foot tiger shark came out of nowhere and seemed to shatter all her dreams. Soul Surfer reveals Bethany's fight to recover from her ordeal and how she grappled with the question of her future. Strengthened by the love of her parents, Tom (Dennis Quaid) and Cheri (Helen Hunt), and supported by her youth group leader Sara (Carrie Underwood), Bethany refuses to give in or give up, and begins a bold return to the water. The plot of the film never became boring, it never tried to be stupid, and it tried hard to inspire people such as the true story of Bethany Hammleton, but there were thjings like I said where Hollywood has to move in and ruin some things. The cast was good, AnnaSophia Robb made a great performance, while Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid play good performances, but the mighty hand of Hollywood has taken its toll on most of the roles of this film, and it seemed a little to inspirational, I mean for me there is a limit on how much cliche they put in this, like when the mean girl in this film wore black in like every scene, I mean come on, was I the only one thinking how stupid and cliche that was, in real life do you think that girl was wearing black everytime to show off her villainous side. I usually only mention the score in my reviews when its really good, and here it was really good, it had the hawaiin feel to it which really was cool, seeing as I have been to Hawaii and it was cool to remember the music from my trips there. This movie was not great, but it was good, and I enjoy the love for God they give in this film, and the moral which is determination that if you love doing something, nothng in the world will stop you from doing it, and even though Hollywood tried to ruin this movie, its still a good movie that i recommend to everyone who enjoys and happy film.
Eduardo T

Super Reviewer

November 18, 2011
The only part I enjoyed about this film was the shark attack. It was very bloody which I like, just look at my favorite films. The other good parts where the plot build up and character development. I got to really understand who Bethany Hamilton was and what drove her. Other then that the rest of the technical parts of the film where horrible. The production was really cheesy just like what the critics said. But there's one thing I don't understand. All children films are cheese yet some of them get good ratings, like the majority of Disney films. Either critics are being bias or they just don't like real life inspirational stories. Carrie Underwood should stick to singing after all that is why she won American Idol. To top of this review I would like to say that this is no Jaws.
SC007
SC007

Super Reviewer

April 8, 2012
The film was so so. On the positive, the film was well casted. Annasophia Robb shines as Bethany Hamilton. Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt do a great job as her folks. Carrie Underwood also does a great acting job here too. Also there are some really great surfing scenes in the film. The music is good too.

The problem that I had with the film was the style of the film. The style of the film, felt too much like a made for TV movie that I would see on the Lifetime Channel. They should have opened the film up with the accident, followed by a flashback of scenes showing up to the accident. Then show the recovery and comeback. That is the way, I would have done this film.

Despite the flaws, I still recommend this film for the performances, especially Annasophia Robb.
Fascade F

Super Reviewer

August 20, 2011
There are times in life where no matter how hard you try to stay sane and live your life right...an obstacle comes at you, where everything that has kept you sane really just seems to be a major waste of time. A young woman named Bethany Hamilton (Annasophia Robb) has a major love for the sand, surf, sea waves and surfboard. Everything was going so well that she and her best friend Alana Blanchard (Lorraine Nicholson) had an opportunity to be in a photo shoot for a major swimsuit company as well as be contenders for a surfboard competition. Weeks before the competition and the photo shoot was to occur a major tragedy struck Bethany so hard that it was difficult for her to carry on competing as well as the photo shoot opportunity. With the major support of her family Tom Hamilton (Dennis Quaid), Cheri Hamilton (Helen Hunt), her pastor Sarah Hill (Carrie Underwood) and her love for the sea cruising under her surfboard, her will to return to what she loves to do best brings her back stronger than ever. You very soul is going find itself enjoying (and surfing!) through this movie.
Dannielle A

Super Reviewer

August 21, 2011
Annasophia was a very believable Bethany Hamilton. She did an excellent job. Hunt and Quaid were absolutely awesome as usual. (Carrie Underwood should just stick to singing, no offense.) I really enjoyed the story. The cinematography was breathtaking. I really enjoyed the sequences about faith.
Bradley T. Johnson
Bradley T. Johnson

Super Reviewer

April 17, 2011
An inspriational, and touching experience. Though maybe they didn't want it too intense, but the shark attack could've been better. Still this is a cute, and enertaining film, with Robb as the wonderful lead. Overall Rating:76
Jackson W

Super Reviewer

January 7, 2012
Emotionally gripping and at times stunning scenery wise but it had a few elements weighing it down such as stanzas of wooden acting and an uneven pace making it hard to follow everything going on. I somewhat feel that it only appeals to a small audience though its intentions may have had a alrger scope in mind.
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