“I was born to surf. This is why I wake up at the crack of dawn every day. This is why I endure belly rashes, reef cuts, and muscles so tired they feel like noodles. And I’ve learned that life is a lot like surfing. When you get caught in the impact zone, you need to get right back up, because you never know what’s over the next wave. And if you have faith, anything is possible. Anything at all.” -Soul Surfer

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I watch such a wide variety of movies, I’m not really sure if I would be able to tell you my favourite genre. Really, the only requirements that I have are that the movie should be well written and have a solid plot (and of course, good acting). But as far as genres go, it honestly does not matter.

Lately though, I have been drawn towards movies that really make me think, or inspire me. Those include Silver Linings Playbook, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Million Dollar Baby, Freedom Writers, My Sister’s Keeper, Mulan, and The Bucket List. Some of these are ones I first watched awhile ago, but nevertheless they still had some sort of impact.

Soul Surfer is yet another inspirational/thought-provoking film and is one that I have seen many different times.

This movie is based off of a true story and centers around a young girl named Bethany Hamilton; a die-hard surfer, and her family. One morning when she goes surfing with her best friend Alana and Alana’s father and brother, her left arm is bitten off by a large shark, leaving her with little more than her shoulder. The movie highlights the struggles that Bethany and her family face after this tragic incident, including one that rocks Bethany to the core: her ability to surf with only one arm.

The emotions portrayed in this film are very raw and quite poignant. I could not help but react with winces, gasps, and in some cases the occasional tear.

While I will not spoil what happens after Bethany’s accident in the film, I will mention that there are three specific moments that really stuck with me: the competition right after she lost her arm, the scene after her return from a trip, and the finale.

I have no shame in admitting that sometimes I have a tough time handling certain times in my life, but when I take a step back and really reflect, whether it’s when I watch a movie or read a book, particularly the type of film that I mentioned at the top of this post, I draw strength from it.

I understand Bethany completely throughout the film. At the outset of the film she has a voice-over and says the following:

“From the moment I caught my first wave, I knew that I wanted to be a pro surfer. Nothing else seemed to matter. Surfing is my passion; my way of life. The stoke I get from riding the perfect wave is pure joy.”

Writing for me is the equivalent of her surfing. If something happened to me that made writing incredibly difficult, much like losing an arm did for Bethany’s surfing…I’m really not sure what I would do.

Nevertheless, Soul Surfer has taught me that no matter how many times you stumble and fall, you need to stand back up. No matter what you look like, the things you like, the way you dress…the people who are worth it will like you just the way you are and embrace you and all your quirks. After all, normal is definitely overrated.

I highly recommend watching this film, as well as the others that I mentioned at the beginning. While they are by no means perfect, they are more than worth your time.

Best Wishes,

Jess

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