PG for thematic material and some peril
Sept. 26, 2008
Kirk Cameron, Erin Bethea, Ken Bevel, Jason McLeod
Samuel Goldwyn Films
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By Hannah Goodwyn
- Hollywood isn’t known for its portrayal of what love is supposed to be like – selfless, honest, and faithful. Often, films are wrought with adultery, abuse, and easy divorces. That’s what makes Fireproof, a new drama from the Kendrick brothers, so unique.
Alex and Stephen Kendrick, along with countless volunteers from Sherwood Baptist Church in Georgia, have done it again. Following Facing the Giants’ surprising box office success, the Kendrick team is using film to tackle a prominent cultural issue – marriages on the brink of divorce.
The Movie in a Minute or Less
Capt. Caleb Holt (Kirk Cameron) knows how to manage a crisis. Everyday, he directs a team of brave firefighters as they answer calls for help. At the same time, he doesn’t realize the danger his own marriage is facing. In a desperate attempt to win back his wife Catherine (Erin Bethea), Caleb goes to his father for some veteran advice. Seeking a quick way to fix his marriage, Caleb slowly learns how to love.
The Moral of the Story (spoiler alert!)
As far as ministry tools go, this new movie is one of the best at showing what God intends for marriage. Singles and married couples alike will witness the reconciliation of two broken people and how God can heal even the most damaged of relationships.
At first, Caleb is ready to give up on his wife and move on. Their relationship has deteriorated over time and he isn’t too keen on working to save it. That’s when this story really begins to unfold.
You’ve got a husband who doesn’t feel validated at home and a wife who feels unappreciated and unloved. Sound familiar? It’s a simple storyline, but the plot starts to thicken as Caleb tries to recapture his wife’s heart. Through the wisdom of his father and a 40-day experiment called “The Love Dare,” Caleb begins to realize the meaning of love.
True love isn’t what’s best for me; it is seeking what’s best for you. To have a good marriage, you must first understand how to love someone and that comes from the source of unconditional love – God. That’s the point of this story.
Along his spiritual journey, Caleb also confronts his addiction to pornography, an issue often ignored in Christian culture. In fact, the storyline centers on this addiction as part of the conflict between Caleb and Catherine. As is true in reality, he must avoid these images that cause him to lust if he’s going to regain her respect.
One qualm with the story is the lack of response to Catherine’s actions. During the semi-separation phase of their marriage, she enjoys the affection and attention given to her by another man. Her willingness to commit this emotional affair isn’t adequately addressed in the movie. Although some would agree that her actions are wrong, this “adultery with the eyes” should have been dealt with better in the script.
But, Is It a Good Movie?
Fireproof is a step up from Sherwood Pictures’ last release, Facing the Giants. So, if you liked that one, you’ll love this new one. The acting is better. The story is better. The execution (cinematography, direction, editing, etc.) is much better.
Actor Kirk Cameron, best known for his role on the hit TV show Growing Pains, brings the character of Caleb to life on screen. It’s a good performance and he adds solid emotion to each scene. Just one question: Where’s Kirk’s accent? It’s understandable that everyone would have a southern accent, but Kirk (who’s from California) seems to be missing his. (Movie Trivia Side Note: Cameron did not accept money for this project. He too was a volunteer.)
On a strictly entertainment critiquing level, the acting in Fireproof is less than stellar in a few cases, which is somewhat expected since the entire cast is basically volunteers from the church. However, Caleb’s friend Lt. Michael Simmons (Ken Bevel) shows his acting talent well. His humor and sincere emotion helped to make the movie memorable. A few secondary characters (specifically Caleb’s neighbor and fellow firefighters) also brought great comedic relief to the film.
To Buy a Ticket or Not to Buy a Ticket?
Is it worth 10 bucks? Normally, I would say no. Based on the entertainment quality of the film, it doesn’t meet my very high standard of what a movie should be if they expect me to pay 10 dollars to see it. However, I am making an exception in this movie’s case. Its inspirational and powerful message outweighs its minor weaknesses.
All in all, this is a great movie. It’s not even close to being Oscar-worthy, but this little film will touch the hearts of men and women unlike the usual big box office hits. My eyes weren’t dry by the end of the movie, and I seem to remember seeing some guys in the theater wipe one or two tears away as well.
This is one movie critic who highly recommends everyone see Fireproof. Marrieds may learn valuable lessons from it, as all the singles out there will too. Also, kids will enjoy it and understand a little something about love and God’s part in our lives.
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Hannah Goodwyn serves as a producer for LivingTheLife.com and CBN.com. She also writes regularly for these sites. For more articles and information, visit Hannah's bio page.
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