I’ve just gotten back from a special preview of a new movie called “Fireproof“. It’s made by the same folks that made Facing the Giants and to a certain extent it shares many of the same components that made “Giants” go as far as it did. I remember reading a secular review of Facing the Giants which declared it “preachy”. I have to confess that it was probably a sane summary. I could try to cover it up by saying “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing…” but I won’t even though it’s true.
Very early on in the movie there was something I still can’t get my finger on which bothered me. The acting wasn’t bad – but there was something which was to me intangibly understated. To my untrained eye it certainly was as professional and well acted as any other movie I’ve ever seen, perhaps it was the script itself – either way after about 10 minutes the distraction disappeared and I was fully into the movie.
The plot line is compelling and thankfully believable. Capt. Caleb Holt (played masterfully by Kirk Cameron) is a fireman who saves lives and caries respect everywhere but at home. His marriage is under fire and he’s the one holding the matches. He’s not alone in the problems, like any real marriage blame flows both ways. The situations are real, the problems depicted are real and there isn’t one married person who will watch the movie and not see themselves in it at some point. His wife Catherine Holt played by Erin Bethea finds herself living with a man she no longer knows and certainly can’t trust. There’s no candy coating over marital problems in this movie. They argue about money, respect, jobs and even internet pornography (this is done subtly enough to not drive children out of the theater). The opening argument sets the stage by clearly depicting to the audience that the problems they face are irreconcilable. They’ve got a marriage that won’t be patched together with a quick I’m sorry and divorce court seems to be the only solution.
The story pivots around a book called “The Love Dare” which Caleb’s father gives to him in a desperate attempt to restore their shattered marriage. But it’s not long before Caleb realizes that he’s going to need more than what he has to make it through. The last thing Caleb is interested in is anything to do with God. But in a cry of frustration over his wife’s hostile responses to his attempts he growls one powerful question to his father, “How am I supposed to show love to somebody who constantly rejects me?” Enter the gospel message. I have to give thumbs up here. They made it long enough to make it clear but short enough not to turn it into anything remotely resembling a sermon.
I’ll stop there with the plot give aways. Suffice it to say that just when you think the movie is about to throw in a Polyanna moment with a “kiss hug and everything is better now” moment; it doesn’t. Just like real life relationships things go from bad to worse and then worse again. Yup – just like real life does sometimes.
The acting is good, the plotline moves along at a good place once it warms up and movie goers will not be disappointed with Fireproof. Preachy? Well maybe it is just a little but only if you’re going to be sensitive about it in the first place. Powerful? You bet it is. I plan on seeing this one on a date night with my wife. I believe it opens September 26, just two days before our anniversary.
Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go call my wife.