Soul Surfer review

A real-life shark tale…

Why you can trust GamesRadar+ Our experts review games, movies and tech over countless hours, so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about our reviews policy.

Her arm bitten off by a shark, Hawaiian surfer chick Bethany Hamilton learns to ride those waves again…

An amazing true story for sure, but this earnest dramatisation is so wholesome, it feels like being stuck in a never-ending Activia advert.

Everyone is blonde, beautiful and buff – even the church-group leader that escorts Bethany (Bridge To Terabithia’s AnnaSophia Robb) to Thailand to help the post-tsunami locals learn to surf.

While Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt don’t add much as her parents, at least director Sean McNamara gets some stunning surf footage – and the scene with the shark is chillingly economic.

But ultimately? More Blue Crush than Big Wednesday.

More info

Available platformsMovie
Freelance writer

James Mottram is a freelance film journalist, author of books that dive deep into films like Die Hard and Tenet, and a regular guest on the Total Film podcast. You'll find his writings on GamesRadar+ and Total Film, and in newspapers and magazines from across the world like The Times, The Independent, The i, Metro, The National, Marie Claire, and MindFood.