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This word names my experience of the film Unsung Hero. Though known as “the Rebecca St. James movie,” it doesn’t focus on this famous Christian singer, but on “Mum,” Helen Smallbone.

In a History vs. Hollywood interview, brother Luke Smallbone, the movie’s producer and half of the Christian duo For King &Country, describes the film’s theme. He quotes Mother Teresa: “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”

We first meet the Smallbones in 1991 for what was to preclude their most difficult season. They’re living a wealthy life. Their house is an Australian manor with a built-in pool out back. David Smallbone, Rebecca’s father, played by—get this—her brother Joel, promotes Christian concerts and risks his financial stability on bringing Amy Grant to Australia.

As David climbs the ladder, he brushes off the smaller singing group DeGarmo &Key. Who, after all, had heard of them?

Well, we might guess. Ruination arrives. The response? Move the family of six kids and pregnant Helen to Nashville for a possible lead. Nashville’s promises then evaporate. And the family must make do. No job. No furniture. No car. No money.

What now?


Helen shows how to pray and how to watch for God at work. She instills profound lessons including the need to burn your boats. You must not return to Egypt.

The movie isn’t glib. Or sentimental. There is anguish in life, and this story shows it.

So, that word “touching”? Yes, it fits. Both my movie companion and I applied a few popcorn napkins to our tears. It was that moving.

It’s also a quality production. I kept wondering who was playing David so well. Joel serves the role well with his fine acting. Daisy Betts, an Australian actress, plays Helen quietly and fiercely. American Kirrilee Berger is 16-year-old Rebecca.

This PG-13 movie with its Christian worldview—God is alive and acts—won’t offend. In fact, it’s a very good choice to honor Mom on Mother’s Day. (Lionsgate)

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