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'Unsung Hero' Movie Review: A Relatable Family Drama

Joel Smallbone in Unsung Hero movie

One-half of the Christian pop duo, KING + COUNTRY, Joel Smallbone makes his directorial debut with UNSUNG HERO, a biographical film about his family's journey to America from Australia. The faith-based film checks all the boxes of the genre.

When David Smallbone, played by Joel Smallbone, loses everything as a music promoter in Australia in the 1970s, he packs up his pregnant wife and six children for Nashville for an opportunity to promote a new artist. Upon arriving, the family man is hit with more bad news, and the family struggles to survive in a strange country. Held together by Helen (Daisy Betts), the matriarch of the family, the generosity of their church group, and their faith, the Smallbone's persevere in the face of difficult times

For King & Country's Joel Smallbone Gained New Respect For Own Father After Playing Him in 'Unsung Hero' Movie

UNSUNG HERO is a riveting and relatable family drama. Smallbone's struggles are common and celebrate a mother's role as the emotional rock of the family. However, we spend most of the time with David as he unravels after numerous rejections and his pride gets the better of him. However, we don't delve deeper into Helen's mindset as much. While we see the pains of the situation on the matriarch's face, she's painted in one broad stroke.

Joel Smallbone co-directs and co-writes with Richard L. Ramsey, and stars in the main role as his father. Smallbone juggles many hats in this venture as the star, co-writer and co-director. As the lead, Joel channels an honest portrayal of his father, warts and all. He goes through the gamut of emotions as a man who feels emasculated due to his inability to provide for his family.

UNSUNG HERO delivers a raw and grounded story by showcasing how men and women handle setbacks differently. Many families will find this film inspiring and relatable.

The dialogue is often on the nose, and Act II becomes a bit stagnant. For the most part, UNSUNG HERO is a solid story that isn't heavy-handed with religion. While faith is what helps the family endure the hard times, there's one point where the parents caution their children about expecting their wish fulfilled simply because they prayed for it.

Smallbone's story is a riveting example of the American dream. The Smallbones went on to produce two successful Christian music acts with KING + COUNTRY and Rebecca St. James.

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