After a long delay, Hillsong UNITED’s movie, Let Hope Rise, was finally released in theatres today. The movie was originally supposed to be released in theatres in April of last year but after a few unforeseen circumstances, the release was pushed-back indefinitely – that is, until now.
I’ve been waiting for the movie to be released for some time now, so you can imagine the excitement that I felt during the recent UNITED show here in Oakland when I found out that the movie got a new official release date. Together with a few of my friends, I got the opportunity to go to a morning showing of the movie here in San Jose today.
At first, I was afraid that I hyped the movie up too much for myself but I have to say – my expectations were blown away and I left the theatre feeling really inspired. The movie was branded as a “theatrical worship experience” – the only one of its kind. I liked how the movie was mostly documentary-style but yet there were many moments where viewers could sing-along and worship together right there in the theatre. It definitely felt very nostalgic whenever old UNITED songs came up – it brought me back to my early teenage days!
I liked how this movie gave me the opportunity to see what goes on behind-the-scenes with UNITED – how they get ready for tours, how they write songs, and how they live their lives when they’re back at home with their families. It was nice to see how normal their lives were back at home, and how like us, they have struggles too. I think it made them seem more human to me. Sometimes we tend to perceive that these highly influential people have it all together and that they live without any troubles but that’s often not the case, and this movie reminded me of that.
There were two things that I took away from this movie. The first, was that as someone who is also a part of a worship team, and as someone who has the privilege of being put on a platform, my role isn’t to draw attention to myself, but to quickly turn that attention towards Jesus. It’s not about me, it never is. It’s always been about Him and it should always be so. My second takeaway was to never lose compassion for the needy no matter how fortunate I may be. I liked seeing how although UNITED was well-known and truly blessed by God, they never distanced themselves from the realities of what was going on in the world and how there are many out there who need our help. After all, God calls us to go out and help those in need.
Overall, I would highly recommend that people watch this movie. Christian or not, it still gives good insight into the behind-the-scenes of a band – especially a highly influential band like UNITED who’s songs are not only listened to by many, but also sung in millions of churches around the world every Sunday. UNITED has definitely pioneered this new movie genre successfully and I am already planning to watch this movie for a second time in theatres. I’m also looking forward to seeing other Christian bands make movies of this genre in the near future.