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Soul Surfer Is Worth Seeing

Soul Surfer is the story of how Bethany Hamilton, a teenage surfer, survived a shark attack physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  It is a Christian movie that you don’t have to be ashamed to take non-Christian friends to.  

It’s not an Oscar winner by any stretch of the imagination, but it tells its story well. The cast is excellent, with Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, Craig T. Nelson, the young Anna Sophia Robb as Bethany, and a decent performance by Carrie Underwood in her first film role.  It also has some fun computer-enhanced surfing scenes.

In retrospect, the film’s most effective narrative move was to have early on a congregation singing “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord.”  The popular chorus contains the lines, “You give and take away.  You give and take away, but I will choose to say, ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord’.”  All too often in worship services this song is sung in such an upbeat way that we miss its very sobering statement.  I think that its lively music overshadows the challenging quotation from the Book of Job in the lyrics. 

In Soul Surfer the song anticipates the coming tragedy and delivers the film’s message.  A young girl with the ambition and the talent to become a professional surfer, loses her arm to a shark, and, after struggling, chooses to thank God.   Because her example has encouraged so many disabled young, she says that she can now embrace more people with one arm than she could have ever done with two. 

Go see it, and take a friend.

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