Film Review (Soul Surffer)

In: Film and Music

Submitted By KatieBug15
Words 642
Pages 3
Katie Holmes
Mrs. Foresee
English 101
1.3 Film Review

"Soul Surfer" is based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton, a champion surfer who in her early teens was attacked by a shark and lost almost all of her left arm. One month later, she was back on a surfboard, has since won several championships and is at age 21 a professional surfer. All of those are remarkable facts.
My problem with "Soul Surfer" is that it makes it look too simple. Bethany (Anna Sophia Rob) has a loving family of professional surfers and a big, friendly dog. She lives in walking distance of the beach. She was and is a committed churchgoer and got great support from her spiritual leaders. She was an indomitable optimist with a fierce competitive spirit.
But there had to be more to it than that. I applaud her faith and spirit. I give her full credit for her determination. I realize she is a great athlete. But I feel something is missing. There had to be dark nights of the soul. Times of grief and rage. The temptation of nihilism. The lure of despair. Can a 13-year-old girl lose an arm and keep right on smiling?
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. The film feels more like an inspirational parable than a harrowing story of personal tragedy.
Even its portrait of her recovery and rehabilitation is perfunctory. There's a particularly unconvincing scene where she's fitted with a prosthetic arm and refuses to wear it. They're making remarkable progress in the field of prosthetics. But the arm that she's offered looks no more useful than the arm that she rips off her Barbie doll the same night (in one of the movie's rare moments of depression).
Although I can understand a good prosthetic might not help her balance on a…...

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