Movie Ratings, Family Movie Reviews & More!

Soul Surfer


Latest Home Video

Aug 02, 2011

MPAA Rating:


Run Time:



Sean McNamara


AnnaSophia Robb

Dennis Quaid

Helen Hunt


2011 Affirm Films/ Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Official Website >>

Still shot from the movie: Soul Surfer.

Read Review

Reviewed by

Overall A
Run Time106

Making the Grades

On October 31, 2003 a 14-foot tiger shark attacked Bethany Hamilton while she was surfing off Kauai’s North Shore. This is the dramatized story of her indomitable spirit, her return to the sport she loves and her faith.

AnnaSophia Robb plays the blonde Hawaiian who was only thirteen at the time of the incident, but appears to be older in this adaptation. Bethany, along with her friend Alana Blanchard (played by Jack Nicholson’s daughter Lorraine) are inseparable water buddies who are homeschooled by Bethany’s mom (Helen Hunt) in order to give them more time to surf. With a recent win under their belts and a major competition only weeks away, the girls look for every opportunity to practice their sport.

One idyllic island day (that looked particularly inviting to those who had to trek through a winter snow storm to get to the screening) Bethany joins Alana for an early morning outing. But lurking in the pristine waters off the secluded beach is a trolling predator drawn to the sound of the surfers’ splashing. Silently and without warning, it attacks, biting off Bethany’s arms and leaving her bleeding profusely. Rushed to the hospital by Alana’s brother and father (Kevin Sorbo), the young teen survives despite losing nearly 60% of her blood. Now she must face the painful process of physical and emotional recovery.

Luckily for Bethany, she is surrounded by friends, supportive parents (Hunt and Dennis Quaid) and two older brothers (Ross Thomas, Chris Brochu). Even the family’s physician (Craig T. Nelson) greets his favorite patient with an affectionate kiss on the top of her head. The teenager also belongs to a strong religious community and has a youth leader (Carrie Underwood) who buoys her up when the reality of her new situation crashes down on her like a rogue wave. Without being overly preachy, this script emphasizes the strength and perspective Bethany gains from her Christian beliefs. It is something she needs as she learns to do things with one hand and faces the inquisitive stares of reporters and strangers.

Strong performances by many cast members and some heartfelt scenes (as when Bethany gets her first real look at the stump of her arm) help create genuine emotion in this story and a deeper appreciation for the impressive attitude of this young surfer. As well, the accomplished boarding skills of the young competitors make this film a fun watch.

Given the nature of the attack, the film portrayal is not overly graphic, although the ocean water surrounding the young girl fills with blood following the amputation. Other scenes of blood and a dead shark may disturb some audience members as well.

In this story, Bethany’s will to overcome her physical challenges, and the best intentions of adults who want to protect her from further pain and disappointment, is inspiring for many child amputees and others with physical difficulties. As well, this movie adaptation of the young surfer’s comeback will likely touch many teen and adult viewers who are eager for an uplifting and engaging family film.

Discussion Ideas After The Movie

Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Soul Surfer.

How does Bethany’s passion for surfing help her overcome her fear to return to the water? Why did her father need to let her desire to compete be her ambition and not the fulfillment of his own dreams for her? What can a person do to face their anxieties after a traumatic event?

How does Bethany feel when she meets the tsunami survivors? How does their plight help put her own problems in perspective? What does her youth leader mean when she says, "Don’t be sorry for having compassion?"

Do movies about physical or mental challenges (The King’s Speech, The Horse Whisperer, My Life, Rear Window, Adam) give people a better understanding of those who face difficulties?

Canadian Movie Ratings

MB PG Frightening Scenes

Canadian Home Video Rating: PG

Watch @ Home

Details on home video releases of Soul Surfer...

Soul Surfer releases to home video as a DVD/Blu-ray Combo Pack. Bonus extras include:

- Featurettes: The Making of Soul Surfer, Surfing for the Screen: Inside the Action and Becoming Bethany.

- Documentary: Heart of a Soul Surfer

- Deleted Scenes

Add Your Comments

Commenting is restricted to members only.
Please log in below or, if you're not yet a member, please register.

Forgot password? | register

Please note: So we can maintain a website with content appropriate for all ages, we moderate all comments and will edit profanities, slanderous remarks and other inappropriate language. For these reasons, your comments will not appear immediately.

ntmanning says: May. 22, 2011

“Soul Surfer” - An amazing story of faith, dedication, family and friendship. It was truly inspiring and offered little something for males/females/young and old. I went in with average expectations and found myself absolutely drawn into the plot and felt as if I was experiencing the pain, fear, love, hope and triumph of the characters.

A Solid “A” on my report card

You May Be Interested...

Also On The Web