Soul Surfer (PG)
Time Out rating:
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Time Out says
Tue Sep 20 2011When promising Hawaiian teen surfer Bethany Hamilton had her right arm chomped off by a shark, she steeled herself through recovery, got back on the board and made it as a professional competitor. Her story is tailor-made for an inspirational film, so the makers don’t look beyond the obvious, delivering a succession of would-be rousing clichés. One’s soul remains resolutely unstirred, even if the surf sequences are engrossing and convincing (thanks in no small part to stuntwork from Ms Hamilton), AnnaSophia Robb meets the physical demands of the central role, and parental support from Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt is surprisingly classy. Viewers who don’t share Hamilton’s faith, however, may find that (admittedly authentic) aspect tougher to take, not least when ‘American Idol’ winner Carrie Underwood holds court as a stomach-churningly sincere Christian youth worker. With the Lord on Hamilton’s side, triumph is made to seem glossily inevitable and hence less dramatically potent, since it’s actually the moments of post-attack doubt that make the most impact.
Author: Trevor Johnston