"Soul Surfer"

"Soul Surfer" is based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton, who was 13 when a shark bit off her left arm while surfing. Not only did she survive this traumatic accident, but she re-learned how to surf with one arm. The film was very inspirational, although a bit sappy, so it may have been better off as a Hallmark or Lifetime TV movie; however, I did enjoy it, for the most part.

Bethany (AnnaSophia Robb, "Race to Witch Mountain") has just won a surfing competition and has qualified for the Nationals. But when a shark bites off her arm while surfing, Bethany must relearn simple things that most of us take for granted, like cutting vegetables, putting her hair up in a ponytail, and learning how to put on a swimsuit. She is adamant, however, that she wants to surf again, and her parents (Helen Hunt, "Then She Found Me," and Dennis Quaid, "Legion") vow to help her succeed. She knows that it is going to take a lot of work on her part, but she is ready and willing to put in the time, as she cannot imagine a life without surfing.

I really enjoyed all of the surfing scenes in this film. The movie takes place in Hawaii and the scenery is gorgeous, so it definitely was easy on the eyes. I thought the shark scene would be hard to watch but the scene itself is not very long; the shark is only shown for a few seconds, and then a pool of blood slowly begins to form in the water. Hamilton herself said that the scene was very accurate, albeit one that she would not care to "watch over and over again." The middle of the movie is very hard to watch, as she is struggling with adjusting to her daily life with only one arm, but the beginning and the end have a lot of really good surfing scenes in it. Carrie Underwood makes her acting debut in this film as well, as a church youth group leader of Hamilton's, but it is my opinion that she should stick to singing; although she did not have a big role in the movie, her performances were overdone, it seemed. I was also surprised that the soundtrack doesn't include any songs by her.

Maybe see this movie. Like I mentioned before, it tended to become very sappy at times, but I did overall like the film, and what's great about it is that it's based on Hamilton's true story. If you enjoy movies about overcoming obstacles, you will find "Soul Surfer" to be interesting, and it's not a bad choice compared to some of the other movies showing right now.

"Soul Surfer" is out in Detroit-area theaters today, April 8th.

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