Before even watching this much publicized movie, any spectator is going to know not only the basic story but how it turns out–sort of. Many potential spectators have no objections to knowing the basic story, but to some knowing how it turns out is another matter entirely; even though, the film’s conclusion is in some ways predictable, in others it is unexpected. As with any film Hollywood has taken a lot of pains to publicize, unless one has been hiding under a rock, he or she knows the premise: teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton loses her arm in a surfing accident and is faced with relearning the surfing she loves despite her new handicap. Perhaps this is where the publicity should have stopped, but it did not–one sees her struggle with her newly acquired and almost insurmountable obstacles in a way that it is pretty much a given she will reclaim her surfing prowess. A lover of literature may not be so sure; a classic piece of American literature entitled Open Boat makes the point that nature deals out fate indifferent to the struggles of man and woman. Speaking of literature, the film borrows its title from Hamilton’s real-life autobiography of the same name. This film ultimately makes a splash and is worthy of a pretty good recommendation.
Getting back to the assertion that one knows what will happen, it is assumed by the viewing public that after all her effort, she will ultimately succeed; besides, one knows deep down that even if the real story did not end happy and with the main character recouping her loses, Hollywood would most likely doctor the plot so that the rainbow would lead to a pot of gold. And it does, no surprise there, but not in the way expected. Not to give too much away–but it does not end in the superficial way the preceding plot leads the viewer to expect. Therefore, it is fair to say the ending is heartwarmingly unpredictable. Aside from the ending, this is a touching tale; the middle portion of the movie is very poignant and not at all expected as it was not a part of the film’s publicity.
All in all, teenage actress Anna Sophia Robb does a fairly outstanding job in her role as Bethany Hamilton. One might recognize Robb from her roles in such films as Bridge to Tarabinthia (2007) andRace to Witch Mountain (2009). Viewers are obviously going to recognize the well known actors that play her parents, Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt; the two undoubtedly give a very moving performance that supports the first word of the title nicely. Still, some might wonder where the title came from; in a 2005 article published in Surfer magazine authorBrad Melekian explains that being a soul surfer means
…to pursue surfing not just as an athletic endevor or as a sunny day diversion, but to try to glean whatever lessons you can from the practice. It means being aware of your surroundings, and respectful of the people and places that you interact with. It means being patient, mindful, kind, compassionante, understanding, active, thoughtful, hopeful, gracious, disciplined and…good.”
Overall this movie is touching and should be seen.