Strongly centered in a biblical worldview
|Overall Faith and/or Biblical Relevance|
|Faith-compatible Depiction of Characters and Character Relationships|
|Faith-compatible Depiction of Situations|
|Family Viewing Suitability|
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In what some are calling a new genre of movie entertainment—theatrical worship experience—HILLSONG—LET HOPE RISE is a faith-driven film that tells the inspiring, behind-the-scenes story of one of the world’s most beloved Christian bands, Hillsong UNITED. Part documentary, part concert drama, it traces the humble origins of Sydney, Australia-based Hillsong to worldwide acclaim and stirs the soul to worship Jesus in fresh, new ways—all while modeling what it means to walk out one’s personal calling in the Body of Christ.
Produced by Grace Hill Media and MediaWeaver Entertainment and distributed by Pure Flix Entertainment (GOD’S NOT DEAD, DO YOU BELIEVE?, GOD’S NOT DEAD 2), HILLSONG—LET HOPE RISE is directed by Michael John Warren (SHREK THE MUSICAL, RENT). The cast features the ten members of the Hillsong UNITED band as well as the founders of Hillsong Church, pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston.
Overall Faith and/or Biblical Relevance
With the tagline, “It’s all about Him,” HILLSONG—LET HOPE RISE really is all about praising and worshipping Jesus. The biblical message that God created music so that the human heart and soul could connect with heaven as we worship God is beautifully depicted—as is God’s grace, love and sovereignty. Here, Pastor Brian Houston says that praise and worship music is—and should be—the sound of a healthy and vibrant church, and the film showcases the great diversity found in the Body of Christ through a series of clips showing people from all around the world singing Hillsong music.
Commendably, as the story unfolds, band members work on their latest Beatitudes-themed album and make sure that attention is redirected away from them as praise and worship leaders and onto God—where it should be. And moviegoers get a strong sense of the awesome and fearful responsibility they take very seriously—to be in alignment with the Bible as they create worship music.
Perhaps most importantly, HILLSONG—LET HOPE RISE wonderfully depicts the worshipful position before God that all Christians should pursue as we seek to individually follow God’s will for our lives—and give Him glory in whichever field of labor we are called to.
Faith-compatible Depiction of Characters and Character Relationships
Throughout HILLSONG—LET HOPE RISE, the relationships between band members and their families are faith-compatible, loving and respectful. And as they collaborate with each other in the creative process, there’s a humility and accessibility that will resonate with moviegoers. The Hillsong UNITED band is clearly grounded in Christ, and behind-the-scenes interviews and footage show them in church, concert and home settings where they share details of their respective testimonies with vulnerability and transparency.
Commendably, HILLSONG—LET HOPE RISE paints a realistic picture of the challenges involved in trying to balance the inherent tensions that come with touring and producing new music—all while keeping the focus on God and family, where it properly belongs. All of the band members are shown to lead normal lives, and wives are shown to make significant contributions to the ministry as co-laborers alongside their husbands. Most band members have young children at home and all clearly see the costs associated with sharing the Gospel.
Faith-compatible Depiction of Situations
HILLSONG—LET HOPE RISE consistently features faith-compatible situations as band members creatively collaborate, depend on God to provide lyrics to songs, and pray before concerts. Here, an inside look at the life of a praise and worship leader is highlighted and we see Hillsong UNITED’s commitment to excellence and preparation as they patiently wait on God—trusting that He will inspire the creative process.
Beyond this, band members clearly understand that God is always doing a new thing and see their music as a “tip of the spear” that cuts through divisions to tell the story of Jesus. It’s clearly not about the performance, but rather giving glory to God and creating a platform where people can meet God in worship.
Family Viewing Suitability
At 103 minutes in length, HILLSONG—LET HOPE RISE is rated PG for thematic elements that call for some parental guidance. Here, as band members share their personal stories, challenging situations like a baby born with two holes in his heart and a sibling’s suicide show how each had to rely on God as their faith was tested. And when pastor Brian Houston touches upon the devastation he experienced upon learning that his father was a pedophile—and the pain he experienced in confronting him—moviegoers clearly see the biblical truth that we live in a fallen world that brings with it casualties, with our only hope found in Jesus.
Beyond this, there is interesting footage from the early days of Hillsong Church, and we see several funny moments with the band cutting up while on tour. Through it all, however, the central message of HILLSONG—LET IT RISE is one for the whole family: Worship puts us in the place before God where everything is the way it’s meant to be—where we are dependent upon Him and He shows Himself strong in the places where we are weak and broken.
While there is a tendency to reduce godly praise and worship to entertainment in some churches today, HILLSONG—LET HOPE RISE, when viewed through the eyes of a faith-driven moviegoer, delivers an engaging story that holds the viewer’s interest and consistently points to Jesus and what it means to follow Him and give glory to God in every circumstance. The pacing and trajectory of the story work well to build tension as the creative process unfolds—culminating with a concert at The Forum in Los Angeles in which the lyrics of one song in particular are not finalized until the moment the band takes the stage.
Because the music of Hillsong UNITED speaks to the deepest need of the human heart—to love and be loved by God—this film is not just for Christians. As the band members share their passion and love for each other and their music, families and God, HILLSONG—LET HOPE RISE will resonate deeply with faith-driven moviegoers and secular audiences alike with its high production values, heartfelt musician interviews, and soul-stirring music.