Saturday, April 16, 2011

Soul Surfer

The only way I knew about this movie was from watching another surfer movie called "Walking on Water". That was a documentary about a professional surfer mentoring two young surfers and taking them around the world to surf, see how other people live, and to interact with Christian professional surfers. The interesting part of that show was that I had never known that there was an incredibly Christian influence within the surfing community. In "Walking on Water" the surfers spent time with and interviewed Bethany Hamilton in Thailand. In the clip of her interview, she testified to her great trust in Christ and that He was the center of her life and purpose for living.

At the end of the documentary there was a preview of "Soul Surfer". Since we ended up with free tickets, my husband and I went to see the Hollywood version of Bethany's life story. The main focus of the show is the shocking shark attack on her at age 13 when she lost her left arm and miraculously survived. Then she made a remarkable return to surfing and competition and eventually went pro.

Bethany's story is inspiring. We all look to stories of triumph and victory in the face of overwhelming odds and this story delivers. It helps encourage us that we can overcome our own difficulties. Her faith and determination have inspired many handicapped people globally. Bethany also has a heart for ministering to people. And these things came through in "Soul Surfer". Focus on faith is sprinkled lightly in the movie with a nod to a few verses and moments of prayer and a worship service.

Yet, I came away disappointed. In the documentary, Bethany's first hand testimony to the greatness and goodness of her God was crystal clear. In her own biographical movie, it was portrayed but not with the same distinction that Bethany gave herself. After discussing with my husband, we wondered whether or not the Hamilton family hope was that the widespread distribution of the film would still be used by God to reach people with Bethany's story and then they would look into her life more and find Christianity and the Gospel. Overall I give it a B-

---posted by Queen Lucy


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