Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable is inspiring, even though I struggled not to make a joke with the title. Just imagine something about a tiger shark asking a surfer to hold his beer. We make jokes here because it’s a way to broach serious subjects in an off-kilter manner.
Sports documentaries can run the gamut and recent history has shown a strong surge in these films. However, I appreciate what was done with Unstoppable. Shot 3 years ago, the film is almost a visual poem by way of inspirational documentary. The cinematography in Unstoppable deserves to be remembered come Awards Season. Watching the waves break off the Hawaiian coastline is stunning.
Releasing this film in the summer feels like an interesting bit of counter programming. I get that certain communities have been following the Soul Surfer for over a decade now. Still, a sports documentary going wide between Spider-Man and The Lion King feels bold to me.
Unstoppable shows what you can do is show off and beat expectations. No athlete wants pity or a handout, yet they are also unfairly compared to others when trying to make their way. The documentary doesn’t go into the nature of competition vs. individuality.
If anything, I feel the film gives you a lot to chew on without really pinning down an overall message. The worst approach would be to dive straight into Faith-Based action and miss a lot of other details. Still, the film is stunningly impressive for the balancing act it pulled down.
Everyone that is interested enough in Hamilton’s story will find an angle that appeals to them. Still, I feel like this documentary’s best life will come on secondary venues. Time will be fair and kind to this documentary. Hell, it made me want to see Hamilton get a full docu-series or even do the Podcast circuit.
Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable is in theaters on July 12th!