Arm-less But Not Soul-less

Director Sean McNamara films this true, dramatic, but life-changing film Soul Surfer. In several different takes, McNamara makes the movie feel like its being told from many different sides and angles. The story is about a teenage girl who is trying to become a professional surfer while also becoming a young christian woman. The camera starts off by narrating Bethany Hamilton’s life and shows her as a child who is more fish-like because of her love for the water. Thanks to the illusion of replaying a nightmare, we as the audience get to see the shark attack that lead main character Bethany Hamilton played by AnnaSophia Robb to have one less arm. The camera shows us the irony where Hamilton goes night surfing the night prior to accident and makes us believe something will happen then because she was out without parental consent just with friends messing around. In between losing her arm and trying to keep her faith, Hamilton goes on a mission trip which brings her soul back to life. Soul Surfer is a fine textbook example of a biographical dramatic film. McNamara’s fast paced technique flows perfectly with the fast paced, exciting, and terrifying experiences that the people portrayed went through as well. Through the course of this almost two hour film we learn that the Hamilton family is very close knit with christian values. Hamilton mostly marinates in the recognition that life will never be the same as it was but also realizes she can still make a difference in other people’s lives.

I have to remind myself that it’s not just the movie where these character are kind-hearted and christian people but also in real life. The director chose great people to fill the roles of the characters he was trying to portray because they were just being themselves. Carrie Underwood, a country singer who preaches about keeping her faith during every stage of her life, who plays the youth group leader in the film is an example of one actor that director McNamara added to this film to enstill and amplify the christian values that are being shown throughout. Helen Hunt, Dennis Quiad, and Keving Sorbo who all had lead roles in this film are very open about their religious views and believe that God is the only way you are going to make it through life.

The genre of this film is the christian crisis of faith. Several other movies including, Letters to God, The Ultimate Gift, God’s Not Dead and Miracles from Heaven all relate to the this common theme of christian crisis of faith. Something all of these films have in common is that they all have a bad event such as a tragic accident, a terminal illness or a death that brings them closer to God or that is a way that God shows them things aren’t so terrible. The difference between these other examples of films and Soul Surfer is that in Soul Surfer God didn’t “come to the families” but the family already knew that God had a plan. This movie is also different from the rest because it shows from the first 10 minutes until the last few seconds on how strong their relationship with God is. Soul Surfer fits into the general of theme of chrisitian crisis of faith very highly because of all the different reasons named above.

I feel that this movie is very inspiring to people of all ages. It shows that know matter what you are going through in life, someone always has it worse off than you. It shows that people who have devastating losses or tragedies in their life can overcome by having positive people and influences in their lives.

Grade: A+

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