What’s one effective way to come out of a creative hiatus? Just go back to where you left off. And so, looking back to over 77 days ago, I found my article on the film Soul Surfer growing dust bunnies. They actually seemed to hang off the periods…
Soul Surfer, a film based on the true life story of Bethany Hamilton, the young teenage surfing prodigy that overcame the odds of her sport after losing her arm to a shark attack. Despite this tragic accident Bethany finds strength through her family and faith. Wave after wave, at her own pace, and with her family’s support, she made an epic return to her sport. As the credits roll we see how the film does a fantastic job of linking the motion picture drama to the documentary style montage of Bethany’s real life journey. In fact, director and writer Sean McNamara found inspiration in Hamilton’s autobiography to fortify his ability to tell her story.
Soul Surfer displays the rising talent of AnnaSophia Robb starring wonderfully as Bethany Hamilton. Her parents serve a vital role in the story and so require the meticulous and masterful attention that Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid can provide. Bravo to the core of this cast portraying a family that overcame this tragedy together.
Like any other film, Soul Surfer did have some minor flaws. While watching Carri Underwood in her film debut brought some level of delight, the actor in me saw elements of her performance that required stronger choices. She showed her inconsistency at times with a slight disconnect. Genuine heartfelt actions such as “empathize” and “embrace” were lacking. For example she seemed to hold back the full potential of living in the moment in her scene with AnnaSophia in the aftermath disaster of the tsunami. Not sure if this was a director’s choice, but her prominence comes more from camera time and less from her actual work. Still, it is her first film and perhaps with time she can improve. I do respect and admire Miss Underwood for taking this on as her first project and I look forward to seeing where her journey takes her.
So without further ado, here is a look at the Soul Surfer trailer and then a quick break down of what the movie had to offer me personally.
7 Lessons learned from the movie Soul Surfer
As a Man
1. My disadvantage may inspire others to see their own advantage against impossible odds
As a Husband
2. Remember to be kids with your wife, play, have fun. Let your kids see the kind of joy that the spirit of childhood brings, so that when the hard times come the bond surpasses the potential madness.
As a Father
3. Know your kids, give them room to grow, that includes room to quit. Continue to encourage them and be prepared for their return.
As an Actor
4. Know that God has a greater plan than my own. Trust my instincts and work out the skills granted to overcome the odds. In short, as John Paul the II would say, “Do not be afraid, do not be satisfied with mediocrity”.
As a Writer
5. Real life heroes offer some of the best stories. It’s isn’t necessary to make all my work “original”.
As a Filmmaker
6. Proof that films with a Christian element have the potential to be made without the preachy, corny cliche plot and flat predictable characters.
As a Friend
7. When she faces tragedy, do not quiver and fall into the dead silence of sympathy and fear, but embrace the agony with empathy and resilience. Yes, cry with them, face the pain head on, but get them up and remind them of the strength they gave you once. Remember that together, Mount Everest looks more like a surmountable steep hill.