- Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable
- Directed by: Aaron Lieber
- Starring: Bethany Hamilton, Adam Dirks and Alana Blanchard
- Classification: G; 100 minutes
In the earliest minutes of Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable, a so-so surf documentary on a former teen prodigy who in 2003 lost her left arm to a 14-foot tiger shark but who quickly returned to wave-riding anyway, we hear an audio clip of a wondering commentator: “I guess the obvious question is why, why get up on that board again?”
The film’s simple answer is that Hamilton lives to be there: It’s her passion and her place of healing – “somewhere,” she says, “where I can just be me.”
The obvious question one might have after watching Aaron Lieber’s slick, relentlessly inspirational bio-doc on Hamilton is similar: Why, why tell this story again? Post-attack, the Oprah-approved Hamilton became a pro-circuit surfer, reality-television specialist, celebrity Christian and the subject of the 2011 feature film Soul Surfer. This new film updates an old story – she’s now a wife and mother in addition to being a competitive athlete – but offers little in the way of twists, tension or drama. Other than keeping Hamilton’s name out there and giving her brand exposure, Unstoppable stops short of making a compelling case for itself.
Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable opens across Canada on July 26.