Fireproof: A Movie Review

With no small amount of trepidation did I enter the theater this evening in order to watch Kirk Cameron’s latest lead role in Fireproof. Too many Christian-themed movies over the past thirty years have gone down in flames due to poor writing, shaky plotlines, terrible cinematography and bad acting. Fireproof is not entirely guilty of these, although there are spots of shaky acting throughout the film due to an apparent use of inexperienced actors. But neither this weakness, nor the fact that the film is unabashadly Christian in perspective, should frighten the curious from peaking in on the story. Indeed, there is a story.

Imagine a truly heroic fire captain rescuing people throughout the day with well-earned accolades, but coming home each night to a household disaster of his own making, albeit with a certain amount of help from his increasingly estranged wife. Kirk Cameron brings acting within the Christian genre of films to a new level. And it is about time. He displays a multi-textured view of human nature as the heroic fire captain, Caleb Holt. The evil that exists alongside the seemingly good. The selfishness in the home that co-exists with selfless sacrifice in burning buildings. The contrast is striking and effective. We gasp at a couple of truly harrowing scenes and for a moment in both, we wonder what the outcome will be. This heroic setting makes all the more tragic the pornography addiction which has enraptured Caleb, imperiling his marriage.

Although the acting of several members of the supporting cast is often stilted, feeling like a church play rather than real life, Kirk’s performance almost makes us forget all of that; almost, but not quite. There are moments of humor (some actually funny), again feeling staged rather than natural. The lead actress, Erin Bethea as Catherine Holt, turns in a credible performance, nuanced with sufficient layers to provide a compelling counterpoint to Cameron. The “other man,” a physician, woos Catherine as she grows distant from Caleb. He adds an additional layer of complexity when we learn that this apparently nice guy also is married as he looks at his ring in his desk which he doesn’t wear while wooing Catherine. Divorce loom in the midst of increasingly violent arguments.

Enter Caleb’s father who sets in motion a series of events bound to change the lives of both Caleb and Catherine forever. The outcome is as predictable as getting wet when jumping into a pool full of water, but the process of arriving there is more satisfying than one might expect. And, surprisingly, the outcome is not as complete as one might expect. Enter the higher level of sophistication. The abovementioned physician never is seen to put things to rights with his behavior. This adds a note a authenticity to the film.

Some will ridicule the movie due to its clear presentation of the gospel. Others will pan the apparent marketing of a specific ministry product which is discussed throughout the film. Need I remind them that virtually every film in the multiplexes is crafted to market products at some level?

Fireproof is rated PG, likely for some scenes of peril. I do not recommend the film to children under the age of thirteen due to content alluding to pornography. In my view, the film should have been rated PG-13. Fireproof has some important things to say about marriage, love, fidelity and selfishness. Regardless of whether or not viewers are Christian or open to hearing the gospel, they still will find value in the message this movie delivers pertaining to working hard to save their marriages from selfish behavior.

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6 thoughts on “Fireproof: A Movie Review

  1. My husband and I have that Love Dare book. Plot device or not, marketing ploy or not, it’s the boldest, most difficult, but most potentially powerful devotional book I’ve seen on marriage. It unabashedly dares people to try unconditional love in a practical way, and not just with wishy-washy cliches or generalities either. If you’ve got the guts to do the whole thing, your marriage will certainly benefit on some (and probably multiple) levels. I found it online at http://www.fireproofresources.com, but I think you can get it everywhere now.

  2. Thanks so much for your feedback. I have never been married, so while I appreciate your challenge for me to get the guts to use the resource, it wouldn’t be practical for my specific life situation. Nevertheless, I affirm in general your passionate appeal for married folks to consider using it. My point in commenting on its use as a plot device is that this is a movie review, rather than a review on the value of a specific product. I have no doubt that this product can and will help many people. I pray that this movie inspires them to consider it.

  3. Glen,

    Thanks for reviewing the film Fireproof. In regards to the plot device “The Love Dare”. The book was not intended to be a retail book that is marketed thru the movie. The marketing team hosted over 150 screenings for Pastors and other Christian leaders in the USA. After many screenings – many Pastors would ask if “The Love Dare” would be available for churches and couples to use. The answer was “No”. So after hearing from many Pastors of the demand and the desire to see “The Love Dare” available as a book – the choice was made to complete the book to be used for ministry purpose.

    As of today – “The Love Dare” is in its 7th printing (8,000.000 copies sold into stores – street date was September 26th). The book is also on the NYT best seller list at number 4 in just a few short weeks.

    That said – there is a hunger to have a tool that will help to strengthen marriages and that tool is “The Love Dare”.

    Go to http://www.fireproofthemovie.com and click stories to hear of how many marriages have been saved as a result of this film.

    Dave Almgren
    Fireproof Marketing Team
    Outreach Films
    Sony Provident Films Rep

  4. Thanks for filling me in on those details Dave. I was not aware of those facts. Like I said in my reply to the other person who gave me feedback, I simply was responding to my experience as a viewer of the film. I appreciate the opportunity to interact on that basis. Take care!

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