Capturing the on-stage energy and off-stage hearts of the Australia-based band Hillsong UNITED, HILLSONG - LET HOPE RISE is a new motion-picture genre: the theatrical worship experience. The film explores Hillsong's humble beginnings and astonishing rise to prominence as an international church whose songs are sung every Sunday by more than 50 million people worldwide.
Next best thing to seeing Hillsong United in concert
This is a documentary that spends a lot of time informing its audience about the backgrounds of the titled worship group's members, their faith lives, families and the creative process. But it also gives a very real sense of what it must be like to see Hillsong United in concert, albeit without the full spiritual experience, which makes it worthwhile for fans of the group, praise and/or contemporary Christian music.
While I was familiar with the group and many of its songs, I did not know (until after I watched this film, wondered why certain members weren't in it, and did some rudimentary research) that Hillsong has multiple worship 'teams' including Hillsong Worship, which is not represented in the movie (though there is some member and creative overlap).
From its website, Hillsong United is "Committed to creating a musical expression that is almost uncomfortable in its uniqueness, our mission is to write songs that awaken churches and individuals to the fact that we are redeemed and called into the story of God". It is certainly evident in watching this documentary that the group is fulfilling its mission.
There is also a fabulous sequence just 20+ minutes into the movie: a composite version of "Mighty to Save", which you can find on the group's Hillsong Movie youtube channel, that's not to be missed.
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