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Our whole family was looking forward to seeing Fireproof since we’re all fans of Kirk Cameron. The opening day, September 26, just happened to be the day after our 20th wedding anniversary. My husband and I were celebrating the occasion by going on a road trip, taking the kids to see a few of our honeymoon places – San Francisco, Point Reyes, and Yosemite.
We wanted to attend a Fireproof matinee on the first day it was released, but we were 600 miles from home in a town we had never been to before. A nice helpful lady at the Merced Visitor’s Center directed us to a cinema on Main Street in downtown Merced, California that was showing Fireproof. What a great anniversary present! We and our three boys – ages 18, 13, and 8 – all loved the movie.
In Fireproof, a young married couple have drifted so far apart that they are on the brink of divorce. The husband, Caleb Holt, is a firefighter who will run into a burning building to save someone he doesn’t even know, and yet he’s letting his own marriage burn to the ground. Then Caleb’s dad asks his son to try an experiment: “The Love Dare.” Caleb reluctantly agrees to do it out of respect for his father. But after a while, the daily challenges help Caleb really learn to understand what it means to truly love his wife, Catherine. This changes his life in more ways than one.
Fireproof is so real, so true, and will relate to everyone in so many ways. Fireproof is not just for married or engaged couples – it’s a great date movie and it’s also worthwhile for singles who may someday want to get married. Kirk Cameron fans of all ages will love it. And if you liked Facing the Giants, you will enjoy this movie. Fireproof was produced by Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia – the same multimedia ministry that made Facing the Giants and Flywheel – so you may notice some subtle references and recognize a few familiar faces.
Simply put, Fireproof is a touching, heartwarming movie about the responsibilities of marriage in hard times as well as good times. It was wonderful to see a realistic marriage with real struggles portrayed in such an uplifting yet true-to-life manner. Moviegoers from all walks of life will surely come away from Fireproof with a sense of hope, encouragement, forgiveness, and renewed commitment to loved ones. I think everyone will be able to identify with the petty argument at the beginning of the movie since it sounds all too familiar, I’m sorry to say. But Fireproof goes on to show how love is an action, not just an emotion. This movie celebrates those couples that are willing to make sacrifices to strengthen their relationship and ultimately stay together.
While Fireproof’s theme makes for plenty of tearful moments, there are also some exciting fire and rescue action sequences, surprising plot twists, and several humorous scenes that provide much- needed comic relief. It’s awesome to see a film of this caliber hit the mainstream theaters without all of the blasphemy and other offensive stuff that is so prevalent in movies today. Its popularity indicates that many people want to see these kinds of inspiring movies that you can go to with your family without fear of embarrassment. (The main characters do wrestle with sinful temptations but the sin issues are approached tastefully, not glamorized in any way, there is nothing explicit, and the end result is an edifying one that will motivate viewers to steer clear of such “parasites.”)
Somehow I doubt that Hollywood will sit up and take notice, though. The secular critics will most likely either ignore Fireproof or tear it to pieces. I’m shocked at the amount of hate speech that’s been generated toward Christian films in general and Kirk Cameron in particular as a result of this movie. Nevertheless, it’s my hope that these independent filmmakers will continue making uplifting films that promote traditional family values, which the majority of Americans will appreciate. As director Alex Kendrick said, “America has two cultures. There’s New York City and California – and there’s the way the rest of the country lives.”
Now if a group of ordinary folks from small-town America can produce a low-budget film featuring an all-volunteer cast and come in 4th place at the box office during opening weekend, that’s pretty impressive! Especially since the movie had a limited release, showing in only 839 theaters. Fireproof grossed $6.5 million in just the first three days, resulting in a large profit since its production cost was only $500,000. (In comparison, the leading movie of the weekend, Eagle Eye, opened in 3,510 theaters. It made $29.2 million on opening weekend but cost an estimated $80 million to produce.)
Despite what some people may think, low budget does not necessarily mean poor quality however. Fireproof has an excellent cast and crew, in which even the non-professionals demonstrate amazing acting ability. Although it’s obvious the filmmakers didn’t have a big budget, they carefully crafted the best story possible to fit within their budget. While doing so, they dramatically raised the standards of morality on the big screen. In this case the powerful message clearly supersedes the special effects – and that’s a good thing. Of course, from a Christian point of view, the fact that the movie included a wonderful gospel presentation made it even better!
By the way, I thought Kirk Cameron did a great job in the Left Behind series but I must say that Fireproof was probably his finest performance yet. This is because of the wide range of intense emotions needed for the character he portrays. Kirk had heard about the new movie and thought it was a great idea so he wanted to be a part of it. Although Kirk was required to audition like everyone else, he seemed destined to get the lead role. Instead of taking a salary, Kirk requested that they make a donation to Camp Firefly, a non-profit charity that he and his wife run in Georgia for terminally ill children.
It’s also interesting to note, Kirk had made a vow to his wife Chelsea that he would never kiss another woman on or off-screen, so she stood in for the romantic scene in this movie. Kirk said, “My wife came to the set, and she put on the dress the actress was wearing, and we shot the scene in silhouette. It gave us the ability to make a movie about honoring marriage above all things, and then be able to honor my marriage personally.”
These days it’s so refreshing to see a movie boldly supporting a traditional marriage between a man and a woman where divorce is not an option, while acknowledging that it takes hard work and dedication to hold a marriage together. Husbands need to be heroes to their wives, and wives need to respect their husbands. I especially liked the ending when they renewed their vows in a covenant wedding ceremony, because that’s exactly what my husband and I did for our 10th anniversary. Anyway, I hope this movie will give viewers more confidence that great marriages can be a reality. Married life may have its challenges, but the benefits of a long-term commitment are well worth it!
If you haven't seen Fireproof yet, I highly recommend watching it with someone you care about. This is a special movie that can make a real difference in your life. In particular, Fireproof should be required viewing for anyone contemplating marriage (or divorce). The accompanying Love Dare book would be an ideal wedding gift or anniversary present. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself! For online resources, see: www.fireproofthemovie.com and www.fireproofmymarriage.com. You may also be interested in the related products shown below:
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