Watch It: Fireproof

When we concluded our Family Enrichment course this year, we not only came away with a great group of friends and a couple of books to read, but we also received a recommendation for a movie to watch. A few weeks ago, John and I got Fireproof via Netflix, and sat down to watch it for a Friday date night.

For the first time in a long time, we both managed to stay awake for the whole movie! I could end my review right there, but as much of a compliment as that is, this film deserves more. And not just because the lead role is played by Kirk Cameron.

From the start, it’s clear that this is a “Christian” film. The logos of the various production companies in the opening credits are various forms of doves, crosses, and so on, and their names are all varieties of Biblical allusions. Later on in the film, Cameron’s character comes to Christ, and his conversion is the turning point in the way he confronts his marriage.

At first glance, this may seem corny, but honestly, I don’t know how I would manage my marriage or my motherhood without God in my life. I suppose that’s the whole of this blog, in a nutshell.

In the movie, a marriage is on the brink of collapse. The couple argues every time they see one another, and can’t understand why the other does—or doesn’t do—what he or she does. (At this point, someone could have just handed them a copy of The Five Love Languages.  But then, we’d have no movie.) Thank goodness they don’t have any children, because their home is a messy enough place for the two of them to try to live.

The divorce papers have been filed when the husband’s parents come to talk to him. The father tells him that they, too, were struggling in their marriage, but now they are happier than they’ve ever been. He invites his son to participate in a “Love Dare”—forty days of using different means to show your spouse you care about him/her and about the marriage.

The husband is reluctant at best, but his father convinces him to give it a try. It’s not an easy journey, and he is often tempted to give up. The fact that his wife is developing an interest in someone else is no help.

The movie has a happy ending, and you can imagine how it turns out. Along the way, though, there are a number of twists and turns that are paced beautifully. Just when you think one element of the story is resolved, there is just a little bit more to it, and always something additive, something that drives the point just a little further home. It was very well written!

The other thing I really appreciated about this movie is that it confronts the consequences of a spouse using Internet pornography. In their relationship, this usage was both a cause of some issues and an effect of others. Whereas often in media, pornography is viewed as something that doesn’t really cause any harm to either the user or anyone else, this movie shows the very real damage it can do to a person and to a relationship. Having known couples who have had to deal with this and who have put it behind them, I found the scene in which the husband struggles with and eventually chooses not to give in to the online temptation particularly real and particularly powerful. Talk about going against the grain.

 

Fireproof is a lot of things most mainstream movies these days aren’t. Sure, the acting isn’t Oscar-worthy (but it’s really not half bad), but John and I finished the movie with a good conversation, a giant hug, and a renewed gratitude for each other and our marriage. Maybe if we weren’t already in a good place in our marriage, we would have been as reluctant to see this film as the protagonists in the movie were to open up to each other. But maybe not. There is truth and love in this movie, and those things have power.

So if you’ve been wondering where Kirk Cameron went after Growing Pains or if you’re looking for a good movie with a good message, check out Fireproof and let me know what you think!

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