There's nothing at all in the trailer to indicate the faith elements that are obviously a very big part of the true story of Bethany Hamilton -- a young surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack and through the love of her parents, her Christian faith, and an incredible amount of determination, miraculously returned to tournament surfing. Instead, the marketing's aimed directly at teens and positioned as a coming of age/overcoming obstacles/feel good film. Nothing wrong with that. As long as the film itself is true to the faith elements (from what I've read
, it is
), this is probably a wise move. People already aware of the story will show up, so why categorize your product as a "Christian film" if it's so much more?
This is how it used to be, anyway, before Hollywood grew so openly hostile to Christianity. Hollywood always uses "reflecting reality" as an excuse for its coarseness, but won't do so to reflect
of how the Christian faith is a central component in the lives of most Americans. Our faith is as natural a part of who we are as our work and family and secular lives, so there's no reason to, for lack of a better term, "ghetto-ize" this kind of story as Christian.
In the real world, this is a universal story, no?
I do hope atheists have some sort of Sucker Punch Squad in effect. Hate to see the look on their heathen faces after walking out of a movie the marketing promised would feature underage girls in bikinis.
Here's part of an interview Hamilton (who seems very pleased with the film) did with Christianity Today
CT: What did you think of the movie?
BH: I thought it turned out really good. The story is true to my family and me. My family and I all took part in making the film from the very beginning till the very end. We had a lot of say in the script and day to day on the set. We're all very proud of it and excited to share it.
What parts did you feel like they got just perfect?
I thought the shark attack was really well done. It's exactly how it really was. It started off a very happy, fun day, perfect weather. And then it happened real quick. ...
What do you want people to take away from watching this film?
If they're going through a hard time, it would be cool for them to be able to relate to our family and know that there is hope in life, especially if you have Jesus Christ in your life. You can overcome these horrible circumstances and turn it into something good. And I just hope they can just enjoy the surfing, because it's so fun to watch!
A lot of people are already familiar with your story. Is there something the movie brings to the table that maybe hasn't been presented before?
Mainly the surfing. You don't get to see that really in my book [also titled Soul Surfer]. You just see a couple of pictures, but you don't get to see what actually goes down in the water, watching the physical struggle of living with one arm. So the movie is more of a whole pie rather than just a piece of the pie.
Much more here