Bethany Hamilton (AnnaSophia Robb) is a happy, ordinary 13-year-old living in Hawaii with her parents (Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid) and two brothers. The entire family surfs, but Bethany shows the most promise, winning competitions and gaining a sponsor.

 When not at the beach, Bethany's family is often in church, where sermons are given by youth-group leader Sara (country singer Carrie Underwood in her film debut).

Sara's message? Trust in the Lord and his purposes, as revealed in Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord."

No one could have predicted God's plan for Bethany on Halloween morning 2003: While paddling out with friends to catch a wave, Bethany is attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark, which bites off her arm. In a flash, her life and dreams are changed forever.

The depiction of the attack and its aftermath, while not overly explicit, is nonetheless disturbing.

Surprisingly, while her family and friends fall to pieces, Bethany is serene and composed. With only a few "Why me?" moments (including one where she snaps the arm off her Barbie doll), Bethany accepts her fate and is determined to surf again, whatever the odds. Faith in God remains her anchor, and the fuel for her inexhaustible determination.

"You can do all things through him who gives you strength," Sara reminds Bethany. "You pray and you listen for what comes next. Something good will come out of this."

And it does. Soon Bethany is competing --- and winning --- at surfing events again. And she uses her newfound celebrity to inspire the disabled and others to follow their dreams.

Bethany also travels to Thailand with her church to aid tsunami victims. "Love is more powerful than any fear, bigger than any tidal wave," she says.

Directed by Sean McNamara ("Raise Your Voice"), "Soul Surfer" is that Hollywood rarity: a film that is not afraid to talk about God or to show a happy, well-adjusted family that makes faith its foundation.

The cinematography is stunning. The Aloha State has never looked so beautiful, and the surfing scenes are thrilling, putting viewers out on the water and inside the waves. Digital effects convey Bethany's disability and her efforts to overcome it.

Despite the intensely emotional (but nongraphic) shark onslaught and its aftermath, "Soul Surfer" can be enjoyed by parents and mature young people alike. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II --- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG --- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

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Spring is on its way, but the Easter Bunny's "hare" apparent (voice of Russell Brand) has gone AWOL in director Tim Hill's comedy of errors which --- though it seamlessly blends live action and computer animation --- is somewhat less than appropriate for its target audience. Junior, it seems, would rather be a rock star than succeed his father (voice of Hugh Laurie) as the world's most famous supplier of candy and goody baskets. So he hops away to Hollywood, where he meets a similarly disenchanted human (James Marsden). They bond and learn lessons about family and the importance of reconciliation, but not about the real meaning of Easter itself, which is never so much as mentioned. Along the way, the script's vaguely coarse humor is geared more toward adults than children, making this collection of empty cinematic calories a not-so-tasty morsel for the younger set. Some mildly rude humor. (A-II, PG)

nInsidious (FilmDistrict)

This mash-up of a horror homage --- which borrows liberally from older films in the genre such as "Poltergeist" and "The Amityville Horror" --- has a young boy (Ty Simpkins) trapped in a hellish netherworld known as The Further, with his feckless father (Patrick Wilson) and a medium (Lin Shaye) out to rescue him. Director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell break no new ground, relying instead on garish zombies popping out of windows, closets and walls, a fog machine, and a cackling old lady or two. Still, the use of 1960s pop phenom Tiny Tim's falsetto warbling of "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" does lend the proceedings a sort of geeky charm. Along the way, a Catholic priest (John Henry Binder) makes a brief appearance, but to no discernable purpose. Fleeting crude and profane language and intense, but nonviolent, scenes involving children. (A-III, PG-13)

nSource Code (Summit)

Taut direction by Duncan Jones and game performances all around help disguise the logical conundrums underlying this sci-fi thriller. As part of a cutting-edge antiterrorism operation, a heroic Afghan War veteran (Jake Gyllenhaal) is enabled to inhabit the body of a stranger during the last minutes of the other man's life when he and his girlfriend (Michelle Monaghan) were passengers on a doomed Chicago commuter train. By repeatedly reliving this brief period, under the initially opaque guidance of the officer (Vera Farmiga) running the program, the vet hopes to identify the plotter who bombed the train and thus forestall a far worse follow-up attack. The claustrophobic atmosphere of the sometimes grim proceedings is offset by an emphasis on the central character's humanity, while the script's musings on life, death and parallel existences are too confused either to challenge or reinforce beliefs of any stripe. Recurring action violence, some of it potentially disturbing, brief gory medical images, about a half-dozen uses of profanity, at least one instance of the F-word, some crude language. (A-III, PG-13)