Film Review — Unsung Hero

A decidedly authorised version of the Smallbone family’s tumultuous US immigration and experiences in the CCM scene

Simon Dillon
Simon Dillon Cinema

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Credit: Sony/Lionsgate

In Unsung Hero, those unfamiliar with America’s Contemporary Christian Music scene (often called CCM) get an interesting albeit rather saccharine insight into this subculture via the trials and tribulations of the Smallbone family, and their move to the US in the early 1990s. Australia’s economic woes deep-six an expensive tour for CCM superstar Amy Grant, bankrupting promoter David Smallbone (played by his son, Joel Smallbone). A riches-to-rags story ensues, with David, his wife Helen (Daisy Betts), and their six children (soon to be seven, as Helen is pregnant) making their way to Tennessee to start a new life.

Going from a mansion to an unfurnished suburban home isn’t easy, but the plucky Smallbone family all help make things work, starting a family business mowing lawns and cleaning houses. Helen, the unsung hero of the title, is the one holding everyone together, inspiring faith, encouraging prayer, believing for miracles, and so forth. David, by contrast, isn’t having such a faith-filled time, considering the aforementioned disastrous Amy Grant tour is a failure forever stapled to his CV that gets him the cold shoulder over and over again in the CCM scene; a scene even more…

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Simon Dillon
Simon Dillon Cinema

Novelist and Short Story-ist. Film and Book Lover. If you cut me, I bleed celluloid and paper pulp. Blog: www.simondillonbooks.wordpress.com