Soul Surfer - How Hollywood Does Faith

It's Spring Break here in Atlanta so most of the people who frequent INFO for Families from my current neck of the woods are probably on vacation. Or on a mission trip. We continue to pray for the more than 400 high schoolers from Johnson Ferry who are currently in the Dominican Republic. And the 100 or so HS seniors in Peru. And the 100-ish middle schoolers in Alabama. Two of my five kids are in the Dominican Republic, so of course our thoughts are with them.

But for those of you who are still in suburbia (or the city) this week, you may consider a trip to the movies on Friday. And if you do, you should probably go see Soul Surfer.


This true story of Bethany Hamilton, the teen surfer who lost her arm to a shark attack, hits theaters this weekend. Though I haven't seen it yet, the previews hint that her real-life Christian faith plays prominently in the film. While that is certainly an encouraging thing, my experience suggests that Hollywood typically portrays people of faith as people who do just that: exhibit a bit of faith in something. They rarely articulate how a trust in Jesus Christ as Lord impacts every area of life.

But I'm just guessing on this, so don't take my word for it. There are two good reviews you can check out from people who have actually seen the movie.

Plugged-In has a good review of content and suggests a few teachable moments.

Phil Boatwright reviewed the film for the Baptist Press. He uses the phrase "religion lite" to describe how the filmmakers had good intentions, but fell a bit short in describing Bethany's faith with the substance that she shows in real life.

You can find out more about the real life Bethany at her website

You can also see a short video that captures her personal testimony at the I Am Second website. It would be a great thing to show your kids before they see the movie.