This past weekend, our family loaded up for a good old-fashioned Saturday matinee. Our oldest daughter had read about the true story behind Soul Surfer, and really wanted to see it. After we checked out the movie's appropriateness for our 6-year-old, we decided to make it a family outing.
And I LOVE family movie outings--especially when they are not cartoon ones. Ya with me on that one?
If you are not familiar with the story, Soul Surfer (click here to view the trailer) is based on the true story of teen surfer Bethany Hamilton. Bethany's close-knit family surfs together in their family's beautiful Kauai home. Bethany loses her arm in a shark attack, and courageously overcomes all the odds to become a champion surfer again through sheer determination and her unwavering faith.
The movie stars AnnaSophia Robb (of Because of Winn-Dixie and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) as Bethany, with Dennis Quaid (love him!) and Helen Hunt (love her more!) as her parents. A fun surprise of the movie is to see Carrie Underwood acting as Bethany's supportive youth leader.
We knew ahead of time that the shark attack scene would be too intense for both our daughters. (They're delicate souls, you know) We had discussed it beforehand with both of them, and gave them the option either to take a bathroom break at that point, or cover their eyes and ears. (Hey, we know from many 'a sleepless nights that we needed to plan ahead for a life-like scary scene! This ain't our first rodeo, you know.) Our oldest chose to hit the bathroom, while our youngest planned to cover her ears, and close her eyes. We had a false alarm about 3 minutes ahead of the real attack. In case you'd like to know ahead of time when the attack occurs here it is: (If you don't want to know--skip to the next paragraph!!) The attack occurs on Halloween morning, when the surf coach takes Bethany and her friend Alana and Alana's brother surfing. The attack is sudden, and although it does not show the actual bite, it does show plenty of blood, and lots of heart-stopping action as they rescue Bethany from the ocean, with the remaining part of her arm wrapped in the surf coach's shirt.
Our whole family loved the movie! As is typical for me, I cried many times throughout the movie. The sweetness of the family's tight bond, combined with Bethany's raw emotions, as well as her parents' sorrow over seeing their daughter's struggles--all of those things tugged on my tears several times. Bethany's determination had our family cheering and grinning from ear to ear by the end of the movie.
The movie's underlying message of a family bonded together by their faith was like a breath of fresh air in a movie. I'm sure to some, the faith message may be a little heavy-handed at times. But, those little snippets, although meaningful to the movie, are short and sweet. I think the movie does a wonderful job of showing the delicate balance between Bethany's loss, and her drive to do the one thing that thrills her soul: Surf the waves.
What do you think? What's the best movie you've seen lately?
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