I make my wife watch quite a bit of crazy stuff. She made it through Animal Collective’s visual album among others, so occasionally there is payback involved… like Soul Surfer.
Soul Surfer is based on the real life story of professional surfer Bethany Hamilton (played by Anna Sophia Robb) who had her left arm bitten off by a shark when she was 13. Despite all the adversity she faces, she continues surfing and wins the national surfing championship 2 years later in 2005, though the film ends with a regional championship in 2003 where she falls short for a more dramatic effect. Drawing on her faith and her family (parents played by Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt) she battles her insecurities and setbacks with amazing bravado.
Of course this is an incredible story and an even more incredible comeback given the circumstances. It still doesn’t change the fact that the film feels like a Hallmark Lifetime Movie of the Week. The end credits show Bethany surfing today in competitions and that footage alone is much more exciting than anything else in the film. Go on youtube and watch the real Bethany surf, I promise it’ll be more entertaining-or perhaps read Bethany’s autobiography (I haven’t read it, so I can’t fully endorse it, just assuming here) for a more personal account of her story.
The survey says…2.5 stars out of 5
Another film we watched recently was Unstoppable, also based on a highly publicized true story.
Denzel Washington and Chris Pine star in Unstoppable, where a railroad veteran of 30 years (Washington) and a rookie (Pine) work together to stop a runaway train that might derail and cause massive destruction throughout Pennsylvania while the nation watches the possible disaster unfold in real time on cable news. Washington delivers his tried and true performance of a trusted and likeable guy as in most of his other roles while Pine is bland but good enough as the sidekick. Unstoppable has a steady stream of near disasters and likeable heroes but is bound by the constraints of a real life adaptation with a predictable ending and no good villains. Might I suggest Speed starring Keanu Reeves if you haven’t seen it already.
2.5 stars out of 5