After missing it the previous weekend I went to see Fireproof on Saturday with my wife, our sons, and another couple. The short version: It was an honest, deep, touching film about marriage, the people in them who want to succeed but come up short, and our need for God to fill in what’s missing in our lives. It’s pretty close to being a perfect movie with respect to it’s genre and goals. If you’re married or ever plan to be married, see it, while it’s still in theaters. That may be longer than many thought – the show we went to was sold out.
Kirk Cameron of Growing Pains infamy and more recently the star of Left Behind I and II plays a captain in an small fire station who, as the promo material says, is a respected leader, even a hero to some, with everyone but his wife. It doesn’t take long to find out why that is, though as you might suspect, the problems in their marriage originate with both of them.
Fireproof is a low-budget film and the cinematography shows it, particularly in the two relatively brief action scenes. It will be tempting for some to dismiss the film based on that alone; however, this movie is not about house fires, exploding cars, or daring rescues – although there are dashes of that present.
The core of the film is about the aftermath of a bitter fight between Cameron and his wife that ends with threats of divorce and agreement to same on both sides. Like many marriages in the U.S. today, the relationship in the film could have ended right then and there. But Cameron’s father intervenes and the promise he extracts from his son to try what will prove to be a grueling 40 day challenge provides the framework and the drama for the rest of the film.
Cameron’s character has a dedicated Christian side-kick at work who gives him guidance – whether he wants it or not – and several subordinates who generate most of the tension-alleviating humor the movie desperately needs. They deliver with several full-on side-splitters that, just as in real life, show that Christians aren’t all Puritanical prigs.
The plot is solid throughout as Cameron battles a common addiction/crutch that many men, Christians and non-believers alike, deal with every day and his wife Kat experiences unexpected temptations because of the change in her commitment to her marriage. Ultimately, a high-stakes confrontation which Cameron’s character initiates proves to be the first step in the film’s resolution. But even then, when the viewer begins to understand how the movie will end, there are still a few more surprises left in the story line that kept me in the film’s spell until the very end.
As I said, see it ASAP. Take your wife or significant other and open your heart. I promise that you won’t be disappointed in what you experience for those two hours. It could change your marriage and even the rest of your life. How many other films can say that?