Soul Surfer

  • PG
  • Sean McNamara (2011)
  • US
  • 105 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

This decent drama tells the true story of Hawaiian teenager Bethany Hamilton (AnnaSophia Robb), a rising surf star who, in 2003, lost her left arm in a shark attack. You can praise or damn a film by describing it as "worthy" or "inspirational", and this certainly falls into both categories. Bethany's faith-fuelled fortitude is slapped on with a trowel as she overcomes adversity to get back on her board, while a sequence charting her humanitarian efforts in the wake of the Phuket tsunami is equally unrestrained. But the surfing scenes are well handled, the CGI effects that transform Robb into an amputee are impressively realistic, while Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid offer assured support as her parents. Sure, the film has its mawkish moments, but it's a remarkable, well-intentioned tale that deserves to ride its wave rather than to wipe out on it.

Plot Summary

A teenage surfer with a bright future is attacked by a shark and loses an arm. She faces a long, hard struggle to learn to cope with her disability, but with the support of her family and her faith, musters the courage to return to the waves and resume her sporting career. Fact-based drama, starring AnnaSophia Robb, Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid.

Cast and crew


Bethany Hamilton
AnnaSophia Robb
Cheri Hamilton
Helen Hunt
Tom Hamilton
Dennis Quaid
Alana Blanchard
Lorraine Nicholson
Sarah Hill
Carrie Underwood
Dr David Rovinsky
Craig T Nelson
Holt Blanchard
Kevin Sorbo
Noah Hamilton
Ross Thomas
Byron Blanchard
Jeremy Sumpter


Sean McNamara

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Walt Disney
Released 23 Sep 2011