SOUL SURFER (2011)

TMG Scale 7.0
Starring Helen Hunt, Dennis Quaid, Craig T. Nelson,  Christie Brook

This film is a solid effort to try to tell the story of real life surfer, Bethany Hamilton.  Hamilton is a surfer girl from Hawaii. Already a competitive surfer at age 13, she lost her left  arm to a shark attack off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii in 2003. You would have to be a government educated moron from Vermont to have missed the story. She fought back and went on to win more competitive surfing trophies despite only having one arm. This is her story.  Well sort of. TMG is  certain this film is greatly embellished. It seemed too much like a made for television Saturday morning matinee special.  The acting was often marginal  and the gratuitous cheesy dialogue was often painful. Too bad they could not stick to more of the real Bethany.  TMG is certain the real Bethany is ten times what this movie makes her out to be.

I might have preferred this movie as a real documentary, but the film was still inspiring. I also might have picked someone other than Dennis Quaid to play “the Dad.”  Kevin Costner was not available? This was not Helen Hunt’s finest effort either. Helen is looking a bit too gaunt and needs to put a few pounds on.

It’s a year for arm loss movies (127 Hours (2010) and not to make light of them, I hate to see Hollywood just go for a cheap buck. This movie excelled despite this shortcoming because the story itself  is so awesome. Simply put, bad things often happen to very good people. Bethany Hamilton, now 21, is a role model for the world.  She deserved a better movie made about her.  The surf shots were incredible but Bethany’s own courage and story carried the show. So why did they have to add in a made up and stereotypical villian in the form of one Malina Birch? It’s Hollywood.  “Malina Birch” could be loosely translated in Spanish or Latin as “bad family tree.”  TMG would translate it simply as “bad character insertion.” Why did they make Bethany more like  a well blossomed 18 rather than 13? Hot babes in bikinis sell movies. And is there a limit how many Mac Powerbooks Apple can get into one film? (I counted three.) Apparently not. We would see iPads but the time period is 2003.

I don’t need to encourage anyone to stay through the end of the credits.  The audience I shared this film with did not even begin to get up to the very end.  In fact, the closing real life synopsis was truly the best part of the show.  I think Bethany Hamilton will touch more people in her life with one hand than most people can ever dream of who have two. This film will also boost surfboard sales even in Kansas. I hope Bethany gets some of that action. She certainly has earned it.

 

 

 

 

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