Soul Surfer


Soul Surfer

Critics Consensus

There's an amazing true story at the heart of Soul Surfer -- and unfortunately, it's drowned by waves of Hollywood cheese.



Total Count: 104


Audience Score

User Ratings: 41,618
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Movie Info

Bethany (AnnaSophia Robb) 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. -- (C) Official Site

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AnnaSophia Robb
as Bethany Hamilton
Dennis Quaid
as Tom Hamilton
Helen Hunt
as Cheri Hamilton
Lorraine Nicholson
as Alana Blanchard
Carrie Underwood
as Sarah Hill
Kevin Sorbo
as Holt Blanchard
Ross Thomas
as Noah Hamilton
Chris Brochu
as Timmy Hamilton
Craig T. Nelson
as Dr. Rovinsky
John Philbin
as Fuel TV Reporter #2
Tahini Bartolome
as Girl at Foodland
Bridget Tully
as Mother at Foodland
Kelly Crean
as Front Yard News Reporter
Dylan Slater
as Turtle Bay Open Announcer
Annie Gertsenberger
as Thailand Village Elder
Sean McNamara
as Rip Curl Executive
Sean Patrick Mcnamara
as Rip Curl Executive
Yasmin Dar
as Transworld Surf Reporter #1
Christie Brooke
as National Surf Fan #1
Cayla Moore
as Surfer Girl #1
Moon Otteman
as Surfer Girl #2
David Tice
as Contest Official
Susie Singer Carter
as Video Director
Irie Driscoll
as Ukulele Girl #1
Faith Fay
as Media Gnat
David Chokachi
as Paramedic #1
David Stanfield
as Nationals Announcer #1
Beau Hodge
as Nationals Announcer #2
Michael Coots
as Photoshoot Photographer
Kaipo Guererro
as H.I. Regionals Announcer #1
Rocky Canon
as H.I. Regionals Announcer #2
Mark Kubr
as ESPN Reporter
Kim Morgan Greene
as Female Reporter
Arlene Newman-Van Asperen
as Cydney Blanchard
Bailey Nagy
as Surfer Olivia Jenner
Leilani Gryde
as Surfer Zoe Madsen
Kristen Steiner
as Surfer Kaila Kanahu
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Critic Reviews for Soul Surfer

All Critics (104) | Top Critics (33)

Audience Reviews for Soul Surfer

  • Sep 10, 2013
    It has it's good intentions, but as the RottenTomatoes consensus puts it, it indeed does have Hollywood cheese (ie: wooden acting) getting in the way of portraying a stunning true story of Bethany Hamilton. The documentaries on Bethany Hamilton in the special features and the credits of the movie showing the real one-armed Bethany surfing are the only better stuff for me.
    Max G Super Reviewer
  • Sep 09, 2012
    I wanted to see this movie because remember reading about it in People Magazine many years ago. On October 31, 2003, 13 year old Bethany was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark while surfing off Kauaiâ's North Shore. The attack was quick and she claims she didn't even know what hit her. The shark bite amputated her left arm and she almost died from blood loss. As soon as the stitches were removed, Bethany returned to competitive surfing. I found her story very motivational, although I didn't believe the scene where her father was having routine knee surgery on the day of the shark attack (and got pulled from the operating room so they could perform surgery on Bethany). I thought it was unnessary Hollywood drama, until I read an article were the real Bethany insists this part was true! The father didn't cross paths with her in the hallway like the movie shows, though. He was shoved in a corner and forgotten about! I think some parts of her recovery were glossed over. Still, I'm a sucker for a true story, especially one so inspirational.
    Ida K Super Reviewer
  • Apr 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.
    Albert K Super Reviewer
  • Apr 08, 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.
    Sol C Super Reviewer

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