Soul Surfer Movie


I’m off to the UK Premiere of the Soul Surfer movie tomorrow night and of course I’ll give you a full blown review of what I think.. (as usual). Before I do though I thought you may like to read a bit more about the film itself. I’ve been given access to the online press room for the UK cinema release, (very unwise) I tend to get rather drunk with all of the power at my fingertips and plan destructive and manic World-domination type manoeuvres. But I shall refrain, I’m getting pretty good at moonlinghting as a seasoned blogging Pro so whilst sitting on my hands, for fear of the sort of havoc they may wreak across the press room, here is a little pre-release tit-bit to whet your appetite…

Soul Surfer /sohl serf-er/ – noun; 1. A term coined in the 1970s, used to describe a talented surfer who surfs for the sheer pleasure of it. Although they may still enter competitions, a Soul Surfer’s motives go beyond winning.

“Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of.”

— Bethany Hamilton

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“SOUL SURFER is the inspiring true story of teen surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack and courageously overcame all odds to become a champion again, through her sheer determination and unwavering faith. SOUL SURFER reveals the moving aftermath of this headline-making story, as Bethany fights to recover and grapples with the future. Strengthened by the love of her parents, Tom and Cheri , she refuses to give in or give up, and begins a bold return to the water.

Bethany was born to surf.  A natural talent who took to the waves at a young age, she was leading an idyllic, sun-drenched, surfer girl’s life on the Kauai Coast, competing in national competitions with her best friend Alana when everything changed in a heartbeat.  On Halloween morning, Bethany was on a typical ocean outing when a 14-foot tiger shark came out of nowhere and seemed to shatter all her dreams.

SOUL SURFER reveals the moving aftermath of this headline-making story, as Bethany fights to recover and grapples with the future. Strengthened by the love of her parents, Tom (Quaid) and Cheri (Hunt), she refuses to give in or give up, and begins a bold return to the water.  Still, the questions keep hammering her:  Why did this happen?  Why did she have to lose everything? Will she ever feel the joy and power of riding the waves again?  And if she can’t be a surfer, then who is she? 

The devastating 2004 tsunami in the Pacific Ocean unexpectedly gives Bethany a new perspective.  Traveling to Phuket, Thailand with her youth-group leader Sarah Hill (Underwood), she witnesses life beyond her own shoreline and discovers her greater purpose—she can make a difference in the lives of others.  Filled with a new sense of hope and direction, she returns home with a renewed resolve to conquer her own limitations and set an encouraging example for people facing adversity.

At the National Championships, Bethany bravely faces off with her fiercest rival, Malia Birch and takes her astonishing one-armed surfing technique to the limit.  But as the horn blows, and the suspenseful competition kicks off, Bethany is no longer thinking about the challenges of her body.  Now, her surfing, her biggest dreams and her life have become about pushing her own physical limits to touch the souls of others.”

Apparently. Check back here first thing on Friday to see what I’ve got to say about the film. I must admit anyone who gets back in the water after an attack like that gets my vote. The story is certainly inspirational and gutsy *chapeau Bethany* but will the film be full of cotton candy rhetoric? We shall see… One thing is for sure, this film is going to do NOTHING to help allay my fear of sharks.

DUN-DUN-DUN

So, I’ve seen the film. Bethany Hamilton introduced it to a packed cinema in Newquay and she was obviously a little shy yet excited at being on the UK leg of the film release. Bethany made it clear that she was involved every step of the way during pre-production, filming and editing. From the beginning she was adamant that she wanted the film to adhere as much as possible to her true story. Of course there was a little bit of creative licence used at various moments but she said she was happy with the final result and the things that had been embellished slightly ‘weren’t the important bits.’

Obviously as a viewer, you know what’s coming, you know what the crux of the film is, a young girl being attacked in a savage way (and losing 60% of her blood volume). There’s no getting away from it, it’s coming (about half way through the film FYI) and although it’s not depicted in a particularly gruesome way, nor does the attack last long, it’s nonetheless horrific.

I did the necessary mental arithmetic, you know… Hollywood film + young girl’s fight to regain her sense of life’s meaning = soppy Hollywood spiel. But as anyone who knows me will tell you, I suck at maths. Yes there are moments of family perfection and positivity in the face of hardship that even Mr. Walt Disney would admire, but when you think about it what choice did Bethany really have? It was utter despair and watching your life get sucked down the toilet or do the best that she could with the cards she was dealt. She was still alive, she still had her loving family, a strong attitude and a yearning to be out on those waves. I hear ya sister.

“I don’t need easy, I just need possible”

I certainly felt that her story was and is an incredible one. Not many people could have lived to tell such a tale AND pursue a sport so determinedly and with such dedication that at the age of 21 can say that they came 3rd at the Roxy Pro in Australia and win 2nd place at the World Junior Championships. Anyhoo, I digress…

I won’t tell you what else is in the film other than this – there are barrels, lips and cranking sets that’ll send you all a quiver (no I’m not getting any backhanders to sell it to you!) it truly is a very good watch and truthful, it’s the only film with a shark attack in it that will make you want to leave the cinema and get out there and surf. Driving home, I couldn’t get one of Bethany’s answers out of my head when she was asked by a member of the audience during the Q&A afterwards “what literature have you read that has inspired you?” she replied in a slightly embarrassed manner, “well I can’t think of any big title or anything particularly impressive but the week before the attack my Mom and I were reading Pollyanna and I’ve always loved the essence and quote from that book which is that no matter what, you should always try to find something to be glad about”.

I know that some of you are simply wondering whether there’s any hot totty in bikini’s and so for you base lot, I hasten to add that yes, it’s Hawaii, it’s beachy, all of the bods and waves are sweet as.

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