Box art for Soul Surfer

Soul Surfer

children & family, drama, sports


Based on book: "Soul Surfer: A true story of faith, family and fighting to get back on the board"; and life story of Bethany Hamilton.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    46%
  • Audience Score
    77%

common sense

ON for kids age 10
Consumerism
1 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
0 out of 5
Language
1 out of 5
Positive messages
4 out of 5
Positive role models
5 out of 5
Sex
1 out of 5
Violence
3 out of 5

Earnest sports biopic tugs at heart despite cliches.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this inspiring true story about a promising young surfer who was attacked by a shark could give tween and teen viewers lots to think about -- from trying to figure out their purpose in life (even at a young age) to trying to come to terms with adversity. With the exception of the attack itself -- which, although quick, unfolds in a gory, violent manner -- the movie is squeaky clean, with no iffy language, sex, or drinking/drugs content. And the main character is an extremely positive role model, responding to tragedy with grace and kindness instead of bitterness.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages about facing life's challenges. Do you think you'd be able to respond to a life-changing tragedy the way that the main character does? How do you think she manages it?
  • What does Bethany learn from her experience, and what does she teach others?
  • The movie is based on a true story. Do you think that means that everything happened exactly the way it's shown here? Why might filmmakers change some facts while making a movie?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    46%
    reviews counted: 20
    see all Soul Surfer reviews
  • Audience

    77%

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: As a portrait of a spirited, resilient athlete, the movie succeeds best, unafraid to face its heroine's daunting challenges directly.

- Andy Webster, New York Times, Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rotten: Soul Surfer seems simply too sugar-coated to be true.

- Christine Champ, Film.com, Friday, May 6, 2011

Rotten: Bethany's determination and faith are remarkable. It's too bad this movie made a brave young woman's life appear like an unremarkable soap opera.

- Claudia Puig, USA Today, Thursday, April 7, 2011