I don't typically review movies on this blog. I'm not sure if this particular entry signals the first of many movie reviews, but I feel compelled to share my views on this particular project. I was both pleased and disappointed with this film.
This movie was most definitely inspiring. How could it not be? A young surfer who loses her arm to a shark decides to get back on her board and try again. She has a lot of family support, and she inspires many who watch her triumph over adversity. You leave the theater believing that anything is possible, and you want to go out as soon as possible and reach for your dreams. There is nothing wrong with that, however this film misses the boat in a crucial area. Let me explain.
When I heard this film was coming out I decided to read Bethany Hamilton's autobiography of the same name. I know that it's par for the course for Hollywood to tell stories with events out of order and embellished facts, but this film failed to put credit where Bethany herself believes it goes—her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The film definitely alludes to their family's strong Christian faith, but you can tell the producers tried not to. For instance, at one point the family quotes Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” but they substituted the generic Him for Christ. They did a similar thing with a Christian song that is sung during a church service.
I think that this film will be encouraging to whomever goes to see it, and if it causes people to investigate the real Bethany Hamilton, I believe it can be a tool in the hands of God. One thought that ran through my mind was "What if Sherwood pictures had made this film?” I believe that the Gospel which is evident in this story would have been even more blatantly and gloriously proclaimed.
My hope is that the movie will drive people to read Bethany's book, for there they will discover the true source of her strength. I also hope that Sherwood pictures will consider doing a biopic because there is a certain power in a true story!!!