Bethany Hamilton lost an arm to a shark at age 13, but Unstoppable shows that this wasn’t the end of her story. While most of the known world knows Bethany Hamilton as “the girl who had her arm bitten off by a shark,” Bethany Hamilton knows she is more than that. Check that: Bethany Hamilton knows that God has made her for much more than that.
In the new documentary, the Soul Surfer seeks to show that she cannot be defined by a single nickname or an arm-size limitation. In the course of the documentary, director Aaron Lieber shows beautiful shots of the Hawaiian Islands (and elsewhere), while providing audiences close-up views of Hamilton, her husband Adam Dirks, and numerous family members, surfing experts, and others. While most people have probably seen Hamilton on Oprah or other national news programs, Lieber’s camera takes the audience behind the scenes, showing the extreme obstacles Hamilton has overcome and some of her inner perspectives.
While the narrative of the film shows how Hamilton recognized that she would need to reinvent herself from a surfing perspective, with new balance and training required, the film also shows the development of Hamilton as a person, a wife, a mother. Visually, the audience will be visually captivated by the powerful vistas, but the audience’s heart will be moved by the triumphant spirit of Hamilton and her faith in believing that God was with her all along.
How would you overcome an obstacle that everyone else saw as impossible? How would you fight through emotional and mental complications that this obstacle created in your life? Bethany Hamilton lost her arm to a shark, throwing her professional and personal dreams into confusion at age 13. Self-doubt, fear, and more rise up to confront her. She finds comfort in her friendship and then marriage with Dirks, and new challenges with parenthood, that make her dreams seem farther and farther in the past.
But this is a film called Unstoppable, right? That should be Bethany Hamilton's middle name. And it'll make you want to be unstoppable, too.