Smells like teen spirit

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Movies - LEIGH PAATSCH soul­surfer­movie. com. au Now show­ing Vil­lage Cin­e­mas

PRAISE the Lord and wax your board, ’ cos here comes the Godli­est wave-ridin’ movie ever made. This is not to knock Soul Surfer for stick­ing to the courage of its con­vic­tions, for in­deed it was the faith and fam­ily val­ues in­stilled in teenage surfer Bethany Hamil­ton from an early age that helped her cope with a shark at­tack at age 13.

Put sim­ply, Soul Surfer has a true story to tell – based on Hamil­ton’s au­to­bi­og­ra­phy – and the young woman’s be­lief in her­self and a higher power are key truths to the tale.

So it would be down­right petty to dis­miss the film just be­cause it might get a lit­tle Je­sus-y.

There is uni­ver­sal inspiration to be taken from Hamil­ton’s re­mark­able ex­pe­ri­ence.

The first act starts by es­tab­lish­ing Hamil­ton ( played by An­naSophia Robb) as a typ­i­cally whole­some, ukulele­play­ing, wave-slay­ing Hawai­ian teen.

Shortly af­ter se­cur­ing spon­sor­ship with Rip Curl , Hamil­ton suffers a near-fa­tal shark at­tack dur­ing a train­ing session.

Squea­mish view­ers should not be too alarmed. Soul Surfer is no 127 Hours. This har­row­ing yet piv­otal scene is over very quickly.

The af­ter­math is what re­ally counts. Hav­ing lost most of an arm and more than 60 per cent of her blood, Hamil­ton fights back to re­claim her life in em­phatic style.

In a mat­ter of months she re­cal­i­brates her surf­ing style and picks up where she left off, re­sum­ing an en­tree to the ul­tra­com­pet­i­tive pro cir­cuit that even­tu­ally brings her well-earned fame and for­tune.

As a film that def­i­nitely has its heart in the right place, you can’t knock Soul Surfer on the grounds of gather­ing all re­spect for Hamil­ton’s achieve­ments.

How­ever, it would be wrong to over­look the of­ten bland screen­play. It’s rife with stilted di­a­logue and sud­den cut­aways to jerky, mu­sic-driven surf­ing mon­tages.

Thank­fully, ex­pe­ri­enced hands such as Den­nis Quaid ( pic­tured with Robb) and He­len Hunt ( play­ing Hamil­ton’s sup­port­ive and rather cool par­ents) do enough to guide view­ers past the shal­lows and to­wards the film’s deeper con­cerns. And if you look closely enough, you just might no­tice Hamil­ton her­self, moon­light­ing as Robb’s standin out there on the waves. This is where she surely be­longs.

Di­rec­tor: Sean Mc­Na­mara ( Bratz: The Movie) Stars: An­naSophia Robb, Den­nis Quaid, He­len Hunt, Kevin Sorbo, Car­rie Un­der­wood, Lor­raine Ni­chol­son Re­fus­ing to ac­cept the waves good­bye

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