Do you appreciate beautiful island ambiance? Are you a surfer? Are you a fan of Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, or AnnaSophia Robb…or even Hercules (Kevin Sorbo)? Do you love Carrie Underwood? Do you like movies that make you cry? For all of these reasons or just for one, you should consider going to see Soul Surfer this weekend. This is a movie that also models a faith that is not perfect but real.
About a month ago I was invited to a preview of the movie, and honestly my main reason for attending was because it was a free date night with my wife. Little did I know how my heart would be engaged that night, however. Now, I am definitely not a cryer. There are a couple of movies with tear-jerking scenes that have caused me to quickly wipe my eye before anyone could see, but this one had my eyes welled with tears throughout.
The film is based upon the real life story of Bethany Hamilton, a teen sensation surfer in Hawaii who lost her arm in a shark attack. The character development that takes place in the movie is remarkable given the length of time they had to work with; consequently, most viewers will come away being able to relate to this family and wonder how their own might have handled the adversity that the Hamiltons are forced to face.
From a faith perspective, the movie is inspirational. While God is directly mentioned in only a few scenes, He is all over the place. Reminds me of the book of Esther in that way.
It’s difficult to call Bethany’s story a tragedy, and she certainly wouldn’t want us too. Conversely, we can view it as a triumph–the triumph of faith over fear and amazing accomplishment in spite of adversity.
If you can organize a trip to see Soul Surfer this opening weekend–with your family or your small group—you definitely won’t regret it. The movie is getting great publicity and the well-known cast should also allow your friends who are not Christ followers to feel safe in attending. You’ll have ample opportunity for conversations about faith afterwards.
(And for my missional, country music-loving friends, there’s a great segment with Carrie Underwood leading a mission trip to Thailand that may inspire your group as well! )