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Today’s Prayer Focus

Unsung Hero

MPA Rating: PG-Rating (MPA) for thematic elements.

Reviewed by: Raphael Vera

Moral Rating: Good
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Adults Young-Adults Teens Family
Genre: Faith-Based Family Drama
Length: 1 hr. 52 min.
Year of Release: 2024
USA Release: April 26, 2024 (wide release—2,832 theaters)
DVD: July 9, 2024
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Relevant Issues
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Faith and family

What is FAITH and why is it important? Answer

Setting: 1990s

Musical group: For King and Country

Australian Christian family moves to Nashville, Tennessee

Turning struggle into adventure

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Family bands together to overcome obstacles

Overcoming FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

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About PRAYER in God’s Word

PRAYER—Tips for new and growing Christians

Why aren’t my prayers answered? Answer

Effectual prayer

PARENTING TIPS ON TEACHING THANKFULNESS—Besides saying grace at meals, how can I teach my child to be thankful? Answer

Why is our level of HUMILITY important? Answer

Prayer in the Bible



Why should humans give THANKS to their Creator? What does the Bible say about thankfulness? Answer

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About MUSIC in the Bible

Featuring Daisy BettsHelen Smallbone
Joel SmallboneDavid Smallbone
Kirrilee BergerRebecca Smallbone, stage name Rebecca St. James
Jonathan JacksonEddie Degarmo, American contemporary Christian music recording artist, keyboardist, producer and singer
Lucas BlackJed Albright
Candace Cameron BureKay Albright
Terry O'QuinnGrandpa James
Kevin DownesSuit
See all »
Director Richard L. Ramsey (Richard Ramsey)
Joel Smallbone
Producer Candy Rock Entertainment
Kingdom Story Company
See all »
Distributor: Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. Trademark logo.
(Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.)

“The dramatic true story of an immigrant mum and her family”

There was a time when David Smallbone felt he was on top of the world, and why shouldn’t he? He is a successful Australian music promoter who is providing his loving, God-fearing family of eight with a lavish lifestyle in an estate that most would envy. But in 1991, fueled by his growing success, he takes a big risk just as the country’s economy comes crashing down and loses it all. With no job, no prospects and a home that is being foreclosed on, yet pridefully wanting to stay in the music business, he is convinced to move on to the very different music capital of Nashville, Tennessee USA.

Most married couples begin with not much in their bank account and a sparsely furnished apartment but they are fueled by dreams of a better future. By the time one has six kids, with another on the way, this type of living should be a thing of the past, but for the Smallbone family it has become the reality of the present. Sustained only by their faith in God, the mom makes it everyone’s responsibility to do all they can to make a few dollars, and we soon see the beginning of a family landscaping business with their dad.

The prayer wall, where their wants and needs are posted as a reminder to pray for God’s help, is the focus of the Smallbone’s daily life.

Q & A

About prayer in God’s Word

PRAYER—Tips for new and growing Christians

Why aren’t my prayers answered? Answer

Effective prayer

PARENTING TIPS ON TEACHING THANKFULNESS—Besides saying grace at meals, how can I teach my child to be thankful? Answer

Settled in Nashville they meet Christian neighbors Jed Albright (Lucas Black) and his wife Kay (Candace Cameron Bure) who, along with other new church friends, charitably provide for many of their necessities. It is only because of their generosity that the Smallbones are able to survive these early months of abject poverty all the while never losing their faith that God has brought them here for a reason.

“Unsung Hero” is the inspirational and true story of a family that will one day give rise to three Christian singers/songwriters, not to a mention this film’s Director/Actor Joel Smallbone, is a story that merits being told.

Content of Concern

LANGUAGE: None. The Lords’ name is always said respectfully and never taken in vain. No vulgar or crude language is spoken.

VIOLENCE: Minor. David verbally diminishes his daughter Rebecca (Kirrilee Berger) and soon after Helen slaps him for it. David, in an act of frustration, throws his phone/fax machine down and destroys it. Helen is shown vomiting due to morning sickness and later during the agony of childbirth.




“Unsung Hero” is a film dealing with life, it’s obstacles and the disheartening setbacks many of us experience in one way or another. During the course of the few years this takes place in, the Smallbones will learn something about pride, faith, family and overcoming depression.

PRIDE — The family having to move to America is traced back to David’s insistence on staying in the music business despite all his avenues being cut off. However, the starkest example of his pride is actually shown when he denies his daughter a chance at an audition because he doesn’t want to humble himself, yet again, before music producer Eddie Degarmo (Jonathan Jackson).

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” —Proverbs 16:18

Helen Smallbone proves herself less prideful and keeps a positive outlook, at least in front of the kids. Still, her steadfast support of the family and her husband proves she personifies many of the qualities of the godly woman Solomon described in Proverbs 31.

Q & A

What does the Bible say about HUMILITY?

Biblical women with admirable character, include: Mrs. Noah, Mary (mother of Jesus), Esther, Deborah, and Milcah, daugher of Zelophehad

Women of the Bible

Is the FEMINIST MOVEMENT the right answer to the mistreatment that some women endure in this sinful world? Answer

About marriage in the Bible

Brides in the Bible

“A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long.” —Proverbs 31:10-12 MSG

FAITH — That prayer wall! Helen comes up with the idea that everyone posts on a wall the family needs (furniture, beds, food, a car) and as they see God bless them they move the post to the ‘God answered’ side. They pray looking forward in faith that God may grant these basic necessities of life to them one day. Meanwhile they all chip in and work in anyway they can, trusting in God.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” —Hebrews 11:1

Their faith is rewarded enough for them to celebrate Thanksgiving with their new friends, The Albrights. David’s pride makes him feel uncomfortable accepting charity from their neighbors but they go none-the-less, mostly to make Helen happy, but also to give the kids a good meal. Remember that God’s provision arrives in many forms, but it always arrives.

“I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous abandoned or his children begging for bread.” —Psalm 37:25

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” —Matthew 6:26

FAMILY — By family I am speaking of the Christian ideal that the Apostle Paul talks about. From the parents, David and Helen down to their youngest the film shows how much they try to live up to God’s standards as should we all.

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” —Colossians 3:18-21

DEPRESSION — No sooner does a record deal fall through for his daughter Rebecca, then David hears his father has passed away in Australia. What is worse, David cannot even afford to fly back home and bury his own father. Following this, he sinks into a deep depression and barely leaves his bed. Through it all, Helen is at his side. Helen tells David that they, the family, ‘believes in us.’ In turn, David apologizes to the family and lifts his daughter’s spirits up when he tells her she is a beautiful singer and a beautiful person. Only by both opening his eyes to his family and by looking upward to God for His ever-present blessings did he escape his pit of depression.

Q & A

DEPRESSION—Are there biblical examples of depression and how to deal with it? Answer

What should a Christian do if overwhelmed with depression?

About hope

What is FAITH and why is it important?

What is TRUTH?

About despair, fear and hope

“…For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” —2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Their journey from riches to abject poverty, only to be lifted up again and singing God’s praises on tour is a story that skeptics would assign to luck or circumstance. How wonderful a God we have that when calamity falls on his children, we as Christians continue to praise Him. Then, when His blessings rain upon us the world has a hard time giving God the credit. As Christians we know these trials are fulfilling God’s purpose in our lives and so we live by putting our trust in Him.

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” —1 Peter 1:6-7

Closing Thoughts

As it should be apparent by now, the “Unsung Hero” in this film is the mom, Helen. David may have had the music industry know-how needed to elevate his kids’ careers, but Helen is the family’s ‘rock’ and David’s helpmate who is there to keep him focused long enough for God to ‘show him the way.’ Unfortunately, since we never get to see David’s strengths as a musical promoter, either before he lost his business or after launching Rebecca’s, the film primarily showcases his flaws.

Solid performances by the leads and a compelling narrative help to keep the audience invested. So much so that the transition to Rebecca St. James’ burgeoning musical career, followed by mid-credit snapshots on what happened next with the family, regrettably come across as rushed. However, this does not overly detract from the rest of the films’ chronicle of their struggles.

“Unsung Hero” is a moving and ultimately uplifting film reminiscent of Job, about one family’s faith after losing everything, only to have The Lord lift them up again in order to bring glory to God’s kingdom in marvelous new ways, including song. Recommended.

Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” —Psalm 33:3

  • Violence: Minor
  • Profane language: None
  • Vulgar/Crude language: None
  • Nudity: None
  • Sex: None
  • Drugs/Alcohol: None
  • Occult: None
  • Wokeism: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—Heartwarming and inspiring film of Australian family moving to the U.S. and starting over. I went to the movie knowing nothing about the true story, which I think helped me enjoy it all the more, since I didn’t know the final outcome or the players. The showing was well attended and many sniffles were heard throughout the theater during certain moments of the story.

The film is well done and moves at a good pace. The cinematography is lovely and of course, the music is excellent. I really appreciated the emphasis on praying for everything, all our needs both big and small. The child actors helped carry this theme further with their enthusiasm and childlike faith that God truly cares about all of our needs. It was great to see a film that puts such high value on the family unit and parent roles. Especially rewarding to see a positive portrayal of wife who supports her husband even when it’s tough, and a mother who is strong and willing to fight for her family.

Fine acting from the two lead actors, Joel Smallbone and Daisy Betts, as David and Helen Smallbone. Joel gives a memorable performance as the father struggling with his career and his frustrations when things don’t go as planned, forcing him to humble himself in many ways. Daisy is great as the mother who is loving, resourceful and makes it a priority to keep her family together through thick and thin. The movie doesn’t shy away from the emotional ups and downs faced by the family, with their financial struggles and dashed hopes.

The film also gives a realistic view of how difficult it is to break into the music business and be successful. Kirrilee Berger has a beautiful voice and is very good as the daughter, Rebecca, who experiences her own struggles of being vulnerable when she goes from being in the background to auditioning in front of music professionals. Not an easy journey for a teenager.

It’s really encouraging to see a movie that portrays a positive view of faith and family. Definitely a movie worth seeing and supporting!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Stephanie, age 63 (USA)
Positive—Amazing movie, the best one I’ve seen in YEARS. The fact that it is true is almost hard to believe knowing none of it would have happened without God’s grace.

Absolute must-watch!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Dennis, age 70 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—I was thrilled at both the high quality and strong, biblical values of the film. The movie avoided many of the common pitfalls that Christian movies often make, such as sacrificing quality for content.

The characters were well-developed, the cinematography and acting were excellent, and the story was told in a logical, entertaining way. The film was family friendly, yet it also projected some deep personal struggles, such as those experienced by David Smallbone, that adults can relate to as well. I would highly recommend this inspiring, thought-provoking film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
Hanna B., age 16 (USA)

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