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Mixed or average reviews - based on 27 Critics What's this?

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7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 72 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Soul Surfer is the 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. (Sony Pictures)
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 27
  2. Negative: 3 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Apr 6, 2011
    88
    The best faith-based film ever made, an uplifting, entertaining and wonderfully-acted account of surfer Bethany Hamilton's life before and after a shark bit her arm off in the waters off her favorite Hawaiian beach.
  2. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Apr 7, 2011
    75
    Soul Surfer, while formulaic in design, is an authentic and heartfelt movie.
  3. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Apr 6, 2011
    67
    The sermons are subtle, raising the film's chances of crossing over to secular audiences. Soul Surfer is so clean that it squeaks, but sometimes that's a nice change of pace.
  4. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Apr 7, 2011
    58
    Unique as an inspirational personal-achievement film in the way it focuses on the protagonist not merely as a bastion of strength, but as part of a supportive community and family.
  5. 50
    Soul Surfer is a true story that plays like bad fiction.
  6. Reviewed by: Andrea Gronvall
    Apr 7, 2011
    50
    AnnaSophia Robb (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) is too subdued as the teenage heroine; one might expect more affect from a young woman fighting to overcome disability and return to competitive surfing.
  7. Reviewed by: David Hiltbrand
    Apr 7, 2011
    38
    The aquatic and surf scenes are spectacular. The story, a clichéed climb to inspiration. Soul Surfer is more parable than plot.

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 36
  2. Negative: 6 out of 36
  1. Feb 15, 2014
    10
    One of the best movies ever watched loved it very good movie. Great story that goes along with it Its a must watch. But at the end of theOne of the best movies ever watched loved it very good movie. Great story that goes along with it Its a must watch. But at the end of the movie it gets a little long and drags on but other than that great movie Expand
  2. Aug 30, 2011
    10
    Overall the movie was disappointing given that it was based on such an inspirational true story. Intolerably slow until the shark attack,Overall the movie was disappointing given that it was based on such an inspirational true story. Intolerably slow until the shark attack, then only limped along for the rest of the story. OK, we get that her family is religious, but does the audience need to feel like we're at a youth outreach revival. To say this movie was bland is critically too generous. Unfortunately, the folks behind this production wanted the G rating and faith-based crowd so badly that they sold the movie's creative soul to the Christian value police. What's left proves about as exciting as a cream colored Burqa. Expand
  3. Apr 9, 2011
    10
    I'm not a christian or a country fan. But that doesn't prevent me from from enjoying this film. I'm not a professional movie reviwer either,I'm not a christian or a country fan. But that doesn't prevent me from from enjoying this film. I'm not a professional movie reviwer either, but I don't understand the critics dislike. I've seen much, much worse films shoehorning religion and "feel good" messages into some real life plot. This film told a good story without being preachy or boring. I'm a huge fan of the ocean, so perhaps I'm biased but, this film is worth a watch. I've seen it twice at two seperate screenings and loved it each time. Anytime I felt it might start being to message heavy, the scene would change before it was lost due to overexposure. Plus there is a lot of great surfing scenes, competition and recreation. Expand
  4. Jun 23, 2013
    8
    This film was very well done and what's better is its all based on a true story and from the looks of the credits where they show real footageThis film was very well done and what's better is its all based on a true story and from the looks of the credits where they show real footage they certainly stayed true to it! Robb does a great job as young Bethany who loses her arm to a shark attack, and we follow her struggle to get back in the water and compete as a surfer once again. It's a very emotional film but thanks to some great acting and beautiful scenery it all comes together nicely. Some dodgy CGI work aside it's a good film. Expand
  5. Apr 16, 2013
    6
    "Soul Surfer" is a based-on-fact film about the life of Bethany Hamilton, an optimistic, blissful young girl who rode lots of waves, lost an"Soul Surfer" is a based-on-fact film about the life of Bethany Hamilton, an optimistic, blissful young girl who rode lots of waves, lost an arm, and rode lots of waves some more. Back in 2003, when she was just thirteen years old, Bethany's left arm was bitten off by a shark. Now she is a champion surfer, renowned in her field of sport and admired by people worldwide who share similar disabilities.

    What we have here is an incredible, inspirational story that's overshadowed by lazy, uninspired movie-making. In "Soul Surfer", Bethany's life has been reduced to formula, filtered through a lens of familiarization. The raw power of her story becomes covered with so much bland, Hollywood melodrama that very little of it makes is retained in the final product. Aaron Ralston should be pleased with what Danny Boyle did with his story; "127 Hours" was one of the best movies of 2010. However, if I was Bethany Hamilton, I'm not so sure if I would be pleased with what Sean McNamara did to my story.

    There is the distraction of another surfer named Malina. She appears in the same competitions that Bethany participates in. She is that character who is selfish, and mean, and willing to play dirty if that's what it takes to win. Malina is only here to fill the role of a villain in a movie that doesn't need one. Is there really room for a character like her in a film dedicated to Bethany Hamilton? Another problem is the dialogue. Because the movie's aim is to inspire, we understand it for engaging in its epiphanies and being vocal about them. The mistake is in the decision to prolong them. It extends simple insights into lecture's length, as if we need extra space to get its point.

    Read more here: http://localmoviereview.com/soul-surfer-movie-review/
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  6. Jun 17, 2015
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Soul Surfer has a lot of faith, which is something that I really lack. So you could say that the whole story wasn't really my cup of tea and be pretty accurate. I empathize with Bethany's struggles, I really do, and props to her for everything that she's accomplished because it's extraordinary. But the movie isn't. Bethany has a loving family and believes in God and with that everything's going to be ok. I just feel like we're missing out on her part of the story, on her struggles. There's no way it was as easy as the movie showed.

    Surfing is who Bethany is, and certainly no time was wasted in establishing this fact. A true story, yes, but there was no suspense because even without outside knowledge – we knew without a shadow of a doubt that Bethany was gonna be out on those waves again. It was just a matter of how many family hugs we would have to endure first. Soul Surfer seemed very try-hard to me. It wasn't easy, it wasn't carefree, which are both things that I kind of expected Bethany to be. She's kind and caring and resilient, but there was a missed opportunity here.

    Bethany's journey made me remember that she does more with one arm than I do with two. And that's ok. We all have to live our own lives, but Bethany's just got changed by the (horribly portrayed) shark attack. I didn't hate the movie, but I found it dull and uninspired. There was so much potential that just kinda drifted away, like the waves on the ocean.
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  7. Mar 21, 2014
    1
    i saw this film to many times . i understand people who like it or the critics . Bethany Hamilton is the greatest surfer and survivor alivei saw this film to many times . i understand people who like it or the critics . Bethany Hamilton is the greatest surfer and survivor alive today . but still i saw this movie a billion times
    Grade F+
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