‘Unsung Hero’ Review: Music Dedicated to the One They Love

In the faith-based drama “Unsung Hero,” an Australian concert promoter trying to earn a living makes a last-ditch move to Nashville with his wife and six children. Based on an actual family of musicians, it mostly plays as a treacly tribute to the parents of Joel and Luke Smallbone — a.k.a. the Christian pop duo For King & Country — and their sister the singer Rebecca St. James.

Viewer beware: Between the uplift and the cringe, this movie may cause whiplash. Joel Smallbone plays his own father, David, who faces financial and reputational ruin after booking a big concert and failing to pack the house. He resettles the family in the United States, but no job materializes. His pep-talking spouse, Helen (Daisy Betts), and their beatific children pull up bootstraps and practically whistle while they work, but it’s not enough.

Community, humility, and the power of prayer are the lessons on offer in their story, set in the 1990s, bathed in warm light and interspersed with home video segments. Fellow churchgoers pitch in, and David gets over himself; he secures auditions for his teenage daughter, Rebecca (Kirrilee Berger), who keeps breaking into dulcet song about how everything is beautiful. The outcome of “Unsung Hero,” as written and directed by Richard L. Ramsey and Joel Smallbone, is never in doubt, though the climax has a kicker line that genuinely surprises with its laughable shamelessness.

The family business has become a success: Rebecca, Joel and Luke have won five Grammys among them. But despite the fuzzy good intentions, it’s tough to make much of this making-of story.

Unsung Hero
Rated PG. Running time: 1 hour 52 minutes. In theaters.

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