Based on the remarkable true story, a mum’s faith stands against all odds and inspires her husband and children to hold onto theirs.

Chuck says:

Abraham Lincoln once said, “No man is poor who has a Godly mother.” Truer words were never spoken where the Smallbone family is concerned. The matriarch of the family, Helen, held her family together after her husband’s business failed, their house was foreclosed on, and then moved to the United States to find the job promised her husband was given to someone else. Did I mention she was tending to six children as their lives fell apart?  Or that she was pregnant with her seventh while this was happening?

Joel Smallbone is in the enviable position of making a tribute to his mother for the world to see and has done so with this directorial debut “Unsung Hero.” One part of the Christian pop duo “For King and Country,” he has fashioned a portrait of the woman who guided him and his siblings to a life of faith and service. Also having co-written the script, this is a solid if safe movie that will play to fans of faith-based movies, hitting all the inspirational points we’ve come to expect like clockwork.

Smallbone steps into the role of his father David, an Australian music promoter whose business fails after he oversaw a disastrous Amy Grant tour. That the 1991 economy tanked at that time proved the killing blow. Desperate, he reaches out to former clients, seemingly securing a position with a Nashville recording artist. However, after uprooting the entire family to move halfway around the world, upon arrival he’s told the job has been given to someone else.

Living in an empty house, with no jobs available in the music industry, the Smallbones – adults and kids – begin doing yardwork and cleaning houses to make ends meet, barely scraping by, sometimes going without. And through it all, Helen (Daisy Betts) maintains a positive attitude, instills confidence in her children and adheres to her faith, even during the darkest of times.

Smallbone does a good job in not laying the sentiment on too thickly. Many of the events – both dire and triumphant – are presented with little manipulation, heart-tugging music used sparingly, the performances grounded and with little affectation.  This helps considerably in the delivery of the film’s wholesome message, the director allowing the viewer to discover their own response and feelings rather than being overtly prodded towards them.

The Smallbones’ path to success is genuinely one for the books, the highs the family reaches unpredictable and exceptional. Folding real video footage of the clan into the movie lends a sense of authenticity but it’s the focus on acts of kindness from friends and family rather than the suggestion of Devine intervention that’s the key. In the end, it’s “Hero’s” less-is-more approach that effectively drives its message home.


Pam says:

For Pam’s review, check it out in The Daily Journal

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