This week’s family movie suggestion is Soul Surfer…
I remember hearing about Bethany Hamilton’s frightening ordeal of losing her arm (and nearly her life) to a shark attack while surfing. When the movie was released, I hoped for two things: (1) that it would relfect Bethany’s faith and how that faith saw her through horrific trauma in her life and (2) that it would be a family movie. The movie met my expectations on both accounts – I loved this movie!
Family unity and loyalty is strong in Soul Surfer and that is one of my favorite things about the movie. It’s apparent that Bethany, her parents, and her brothers are a closeknit family and that they truly care for each other. When times are difficult, we need those we love most to come alongside us. Bethany is also surrounded by loyal friends, who rally around her, not only during her surfing competitions, but also after her accident. What amazed me was that she and her best friend competed in competitions, yet they didn’t allow that to interfere in their friendship. What an example of how to love your neighbor!
There are many opportunities for discussion in this film:
1. Bethany sneaks out at night to go surfing. I’m not sure she had a consequence, but this provided a great discussion point nonetheless.
2. There is a girl Bethany surfs against who is spiteful and mean. How should we handle people like that in our own lives?
3. At one point, Bethany becomes discouraged about what happened. Why do bad things happen? Does the Lord distance himself from us during those times? Or does He forever remain by our side, never leaving us and never forsaking us?
4. Another great discussion topic is about modesty, as at times, the bathing suits are a bit immodest. And finally,
5. Bethany embarks on a missions trip. At times when we feel as though things couldn’t be any worse in our lives, all we have to do is look around and see the pain and the suffering of others. Then, reach out and offer assistance.
I loved this movie. Yes, I bawled after Bethany was injured (I’m a mom after all!) and yes, I bawled at the end. It is a powerful movie that points to God, family, and determination. I would highly recommend it for those ages tween and up. Younger children will be frightened by the shark attack, although it was tastefully done and not prolonged.