This biopic about surfing champion Bethany Hamilton, a teen who lost an arm in a shark attack, is a hard sell. For one thing, you know what’s coming. And while the cast isn’t filled with big names -- Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, and Kevin Sorbo are the ones you might know – they are reliable ones, and AnnaSophia Robb, who plays Bethany, steals every scene she’s in. (Singer Carrie Underwood, in her first movie, isn’t bad in a supporting role.) Surfing isn’t the most action-packed sport, but Soul Surfer at least makes it fun to watch. This movie has a lot of heart. Biopics often border on sappy, but Soul Surfer earns its feel-good-movie status. It carefully treads emotional and spiritual lines at times, but you can’t help but root for Bethany and smile every time she rides the waves.
Director: Sean McNamara
Writer: Michael Berk and Bethany Hamilton
Cast: Dennis Quaid, AnnaSophia Robb, Helen Hunt, Carrie Underwood, Craig T. Nelson, Kevin Sorbo, Jeremy Sumpter, Lorraine Nicholson, David Chokachi and Ross Thomas