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Parents' Guide to

Soul Surfer

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Earnest sports biopic tugs at heart despite clichés.

Movie PG 2011 105 minutes
Soul Surfer Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 53 parent reviews

age 14+
That she never give up surfers
age 10+

Great movie, some violence

Very great movie!! But a lot of violence.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (53 ):
Kids say (187 ):

To be honest, SOUL SURFER gets off to an iffy start, full of cheesy shots of beachy fun in the sun. The characters, especially Bethany's parents, seem one-dimensional and unrealistically saintly; they just don't seem real. But the minute tragedy strikes -- and does it ever -- the movie finds its footing. It roots its way into your conscience with its determined (but not pushy) message about digging into your soul -- could that be the reason for the title? -- for the wherewithal to continue.

None of the actors are all that complex here, except perhaps for Hunt in one scene of utter anguish. Even Robb, who plays Bethany, feels a bit hollow. Still, the movie works. First, the camera angles showcase the waves and the surfers who ride them at their glorious best. Credit also goes to Soul Surfer's unabashed earnestness: Yes, it's a message movie, but the message burrows deep enough under your skin to make the movie, given its utter conventionality, unexpectedly stirring. Bring tissues.

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