‘Soul Surfer’ inspires audience to follow dreams

Lauren J. Mapp

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The inspiring and moving true story of surfer Bethany Hamilton, played by AnnaSophia Robb, has finally made a splash on the big screen in “Soul Surfer”, the newest movie from director Sean McNamara.

Bethany was born and raised on the Hawaiin islands to surf-loving parents Cheri and Tom, played by Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid. Practically raised in the water with her best friend Alana Blanchard, played by Lorraine Nicholson, their parents joked that they were so in touch with the waves that it was as if they were mermaids.

Bethany and Alana’s years of hard work and surf training pay off when the Rip Curl clothing and equipment company decides to sponsor them, but soon thereafter tragedy strikes. Just before their first big photo shoot, a shark attacks Bethany and she loses her left arm.

The community rallies around the Hamilton family during the emotional aftermath, cushioning them from the media frenzy that engulfs the island. As Bethany returns home, the only thought in her head is to get back in the water to start training for the regional surf competition.

Surfing with one arm proves to be a difficult task; one that she starts to believe is impossible. Lost without the ability to pursue her lifelong dream, Bethany looks for new perspective through the aide of youth pastor Sarah Hill, played by country music star Carrie Underwood.

Robb’s acting helps the audience relate to her teenage turmoil as she fights between letting her disability paralyze her and continuing to strive to win surf competitions. Hunt plays the “cool surfer” well, while still embodying the role of a concerned mother and her interactions with Quaid are playful, loving and sweet.

Though remotely Christian in nature, the film will not drive away surf fans from other religious backgrounds. The emotionally trying scenes in “Soul Surfer” will bring even the most coldhearted audience members to tears and help to motivate to fight through their own obstacles in life.

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