“Unsung Hero” is a family biopic you won’t want to miss

If you love a good Christian movie, consider watching the newly-released film Unsung Hero now showing in Australian cinemas.

Five-time GRAMMY Award-winning artists Joel and Luke Smallbone, along with their sister, singer-songwriter Rebecca St James, parents David and Helen and family, returned home to Australia for the release of the movie.

This faith-centred biopic chronicles the true story of their fall and rise with the message when we stand united in faith and love as a family, everything is possible.

David Smallbone was a successful Australian Christian music concert promoter during the 1970s and 1980s and was dedicated to sharing the message of hope and love of Jesus Christ through music.

However, an unsuccessful national tour promotion saw David lose everything. In 1991, he and his wife Helen made the tough choice to move the family to Nashville, Tennessee, in pursuit of a fresh start.

Upon arriving in Nashville, the family had to pull together to make ends meet. This early difficulty served as a lesson in cultivating unity within the family. They prayed, worked, and even home-schooled together.

A pivotal moment in their life was when Helen made the conscious decision to persevere with the circumstances they had been thrown. She took the children to a park and together urged them to “burn the ships”, symbolising a complete surrender to God. She resolved that there was no turning back. They had to work with what they had and was determined to make a change.

Born out of brokenness and with his self-worth at an all-time low, David confessed their local church, Church the City, helped him transform from what was once a lukewarm Christian to a passionate Christian invoking a transformation in his approach to life and family.

Prayer on a daily basis was a source of hope and inspiration, and with answered prayers manifesting as little miracles made possible by help from community and friends, things began to change.

I had the privilege of attending the premiere screening of their film on Wednesday 29 May at the George Street Event Cinemas in Sydney with my 18-year-old daughter.

It was heartening to see so many faith-filled people united, showing full support for a family that had chosen God as their mentor and leader, appreciating their honest and authentic story of struggle and pain. It definitely tugged at the heartstrings.

During the movie production, certain actors found themselves drawing parallels between their own lives and their character. Joel, who portrayed his father David in the movie, and contributed to directing the film, said that it allowed him to come to truly appreciate the depth of sadness and anger his father experienced, giving clarity to the adversities he faced.

Daisy Betts, who portrayed Helen, said the film spoke to her as a mum. “I love that it’s also a celebration of motherhood because I think the character of Helen Smallbone is pivotal in this movie. She’s really the glue that holds the family together,” she said. After reading the script, Daisy, who has four kids of her own, said she felt seen and appreciated as a mother.

Sometimes it’s hard to understand the reasons behind the twists and turns in our lives.

God only knows the answer, and it’s up to us to work it out with his guidance.

Perhaps David’s ambition to make more money and provide more for his family, looking inwardly rather than outwardly, wasn’t the right path at the time.

It wasn’t till David’s father, seen as a beacon of optimism in the movie, gently reminded him with the thought, “Your family are not in the way; they are the way,” that David was set on a new trajectory.

He relinquished his somewhat selfish ways and began the journey of appreciation for his children’s gifts, which fostered a greater sense of unity in the family.

Today, David and Helen Smallbone are parents to seven very successful creative kids. Their resilience and determination in the face of adversity in those early days have undoubtedly shaped who they have become.

We can all learn and take away some valuable lessons from the movie. It teaches us tolerance, compassion, generosity, and selflessness.

It shows that selfish pursuits can often lead to unforeseen circumstances, and it teaches us that faith can make a difference and change lives forever.

It illustrates the potential for men to be better fathers and highlights the beauty of the role of a mother who is often the backbone and glue of the family.

The essence of Unsung Hero is the powerful message inspired by a quote from Mother Teresa: “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”

The Smallbones experienced first-hand a decision that ultimately changed their lives forever. Thankfully, they chose to follow Jesus which guided them their path to recovery.

Most of us experience lessons of struggles and hardship in life. If we are prepared to surrender to him, we must be prepared to live outside the box, and regardless of the trials one may face, you persevere with uncompromising love and faith.

Unsung Hero makes the point that making God the centre of your family will be a blessing like no other. It’s about taking risks, fighting for each other instead of against each other, respecting one another, being supportive and loving. That’s a family united.

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