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Unsung Hero is a family friendly film about the Australian David Smallbone family who arrived in the United States on a six-month tourist visa in the early 1990s. David Smallbone had a thriving music business in Australia and was known in the United States for his work. He lost a contract and hurt his business reputation and the family’s financial wellbeing. David’s wife, Helen, did not want the family separated for six months while her husband visited with his contacts in Nashville, Tennessee.

If the Smallbone surname does not sound familiar initially, it may be the vocalist stage name, Rebecca St. James and/or the Grammy winning Christian pop duo For King + Country, comprised of brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone, that may be more familiar sounding.

Unsung Hero is co- directed by Richard Ramsey and Joel Smallbone who is making his directorial debut. The script is co-authored by both directors, based on the real-life experiences of the Smallbone family.

What we see in the film is the family in the US who struggles to make ends meet and Helen (Daisy Betts) supportive of her husband (played by Joel Smallbone) and children throughout the challenges over an undisclosed amount of time. It is not clear if what is revealed in the film is only during the initial six months of the visa, or if there are extensions for their stay in this country. This timeline is not clear in the narrative, so it is not clear how long it takes for David to try to establish himself, nor how long it takes for him to recognize all the talent within his own children, starting with his eldest daughter, Rebecca (Kirrilee Berger), as a vocalist and his various sons with musical and other talents.

They are a faithful church going family and find a church with a caring congregation. While Helen does all she can to hold the family with six children together and one on the way, David has an ego that gets in the way more than once. Jed Albright (Lucas Black) and wife Kay (Candace Cameron Bure) become friends from the start of the Smallbone family joining the church. The Albright and other church families are generous and giving, especially during the holidays. The audience does have an opportunity to see how David does not hold up well during the long run of their stay, unfortunately towards those who are being so supportive, or to his own children. Some of the narrative may have what may appear to be “sugar coated” as others use the term, but to see David unraveling appears to be a more accurate representation of how stress and emotions take a toll on families and friends. Helen and the children keep the faith, pray, and announce their belief in prayers answered when good things are received.

The story continues when Rebecca continues to pursue music, and David decides to ask for help from a friend in the industry, Eddie DeGarmo (Jonathan Jackson). He listens to his daughter sing and then selects her stage name as Rebecca St. James. The film ends with grown up versions of Joel and Luke Smallbone as the duo For King & Country becoming Christian recording artists.

This family drama also has some version of a music biopic, and while the script may have some details missing, it is still an interesting film to be acquainted with some history of these young musical artists.

MPA rating: PG (for thematic elements), Running time: 1:54.

In theaters from Lionsgate April 26, 2024.