Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Soul Surfer

Elliot had been begging to see Soul Surfer for some time, so he and Kelly went to see it last week.  Then he wanted me to see it, so I met him one day after work at the dollar movie.  If you haven't heard of this movie or seen it,  you are missing one inspiring story!  Based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton, Soul Surfer tells of her love of surfing, entering into the professional ranks as a teen, then of her losing an arm in a shark attack, and her comeback in the sport.

Bethany and her family live in Hawaii, where she grew up surfing with her brothers and parents at the beach out their back door.  They love surfing, love each other, and love the Lord (not necessarily in that order!).  When a shark chomps off Bethany's arm, she survives, but the accident rocks her faith, her hopes for surfing, and her family.  Soul Surfer presents a picture of a family who comes together in a trying time, supporting Bethany, all of them growing stronger as a result.

It's refreshing to see Christian faith portrayed so explicitly in a mainstream film.  In an early church scene, they sing Matt Redman's "Blessed Be Your Name," which must have come to mean much more after the attack:
When I'm found in the desert place/ Though I walk through the wilderness/ Blessed be your name/ . . . . When the darkness closes in, Lord/ Still I will say/ Blessed be the name of the Lord/ . . .  On the road marked with suffering/ Though there's pain in the offering/ Blessed be your name.
The Hamiltons worship together, pray together, Bethany seeks counsel from her youth pastor, she goes on a mission trip.  They are not portrayed as a nice family who happens to go to church.  Rather, they are portrayed as genuine followers of Christ whose family strength is derived from their faith.
The special effects team did a nice job of making me forget that this actress actually has 2 arms.
I was very impressed with Soul Surfer's avoidance of sensationalism and the embrace of faith.  Speaking of embrace, I loved Bethany's line stating that by losing an arm, she is able to embrace more people than she ever could with two.  She truly found that blessing the name of the Lord in the darkness gave her more light than before.  This wonderful movie is definitely worth your while.

Bottom line, 3 1/2 stars.

Also take a look at Bethany's web site:
Bethany with members of the cast.  I don't know how many of these actresses are Christians, but they had to have been inspired by Bethany and her family.

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