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
    76%

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: 0
    see all Soul Surfer reviews
  • Audience

    76%

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Good inspirational surfing movie, about a girl who loses her arm and continues to surf on. AnnaSophia Robb gives a great performance, and never makes the movie feel too melodramatic. This could have easily been a "lifetime" movie, but she really keeps the movie from falling into that trap. After watching "Soul Surfer" you'll probably want to go to Hawaii and surf. The locations really pop, and made me want to hop on a plane and take a trip down there. The movies sags a little in the middle, but quickly finds it's way back. Women and girls will probably like it more than guys, but I found it to be pretty good. As far as inspirational sports movies goes, this isn't the best, but it's probably a top ten.

- fb100000145236770, Sunday, July 10, 2011

2 stars

I like how the RottenTomatoes consensus put it: "There's an amazing true story at the heart of Soul Surfer -- and unfortunately, it's drowned by waves of Hollywood cheese." Yup, with material like this, it's hard to go wrong, but boy, it was freaking cheesy. I found myself cringing a lot at the laughably and poorly written dialogue, the mediocre acting (Sorry Carrie Underwood, you're a devout Christian and an EXCELLENT musician, which is all very inspiring, but acting ain't your thing), and the poor execution in storytelling. "What's up, Disney Channel?" As a Christian, I find myself cringing at the attempt to make an inspiring Christian-themed movie, but surprisingly, "Soul Surfer" as a Christian movie, wasn't THAT bad compared to the many other Christian movies. Let me tell you, there are some horrifyingly, awful Christian movies out there. You'll be pleasantly welcomed by the B-movie feel "Soul Surfer" has. It's not preachy or pretentious; deep down, there's a lot of purity and heart injected into this movie. There's a particular scene involving the Bethany, the main protagonist, that effectively agitates the audience's emotions, all without a word being said. Even the message was good-hearted, pure, and a relief, especially among a movie industry filled with dark and unsettling themes. Surprisingly, "Soul Surfer" as a Christian movie, manages to catch a couple of waves, but that's where it ends. The movie suffers from horrible pacing issues, mainly due to the fact that the incident that occurs, and the result afterwards are the only solid material "Soul Surfer" has for its narrative. The spaces in between are nothing more than fillers, and what dull fillers they are. The editing is sporadically all over the place, and the dialogue makes me shudder. Phew, this is one big cheeseball. Nevertheless, it's a good movie for children and is a surprisingly effective Christian-themed film -- just don't take your film critique crew to watch this. There IS an amazing true story at the heart of Soul Surfer -- and unfortunately, it's drowned by waves of Hollywood cheese... to the max.

- fb1463751009, Tuesday, May 1, 2012