Rich Jacobson strongly recommended that I take my wife to see “Fireproof” a week or two ago. I think his actual words might have been, “I will slap you around when I see you in Houston later this month if you don’t go.” Fair enough – he thought it was worth seeing, so I took Pam to see it about a week ago.
This film is about firefighters on the surface and in a couple of previews that I saw, but it is essentially a movie about faith, marriage, and relationships. Kirk Cameron stars as Caleb Holt, a firefighter with a bit too much pride for his own good. His marriage is dying on the vine, for a number of reasons. Neither he nor his wife is the sole party to blame in this case.
Caleb’s father approaches him with a proposition that he feels may save his son’s marriage. He asks if Caleb has any desire to save things, then sends him a handwritten book called “The Love Dare” which has specific daily challenges designed to help get things back on track. The book turns out to be tied to his father’s somewhat newfound Christian faith, which dampens Caleb’s enthusiasm considerably, but he perseveres. Frankly, I found myself wishing that his dad was MY dad, since he seemed incredibly gentle and loving.
Much of the remainder of the movie details his journey and his attempt to walk through the book his father gave him. No need to give away everything here, right?
There is some great comic relief provided by the guys who work in the fire station with Caleb. All of the actors were virtual unknowns, but they had some chemistry that struck me as realistic.
I will readily admit that I spent the final 70 or so minutes of the movie either openly weeping or on the verge of tears. There are a good number of very emotional scenes, and I guess I identified pretty strongly with the couple, since they are both about my age. I have also known many couples who ended up in the same boat, but they didn’t take the necessary steps to fix things before it was too late.
Kirk Cameron was terrific and (in my opinion) believable in his role. For those of you who don’t know this, Cameron has been a very bold Christian since converting many years ago. Make no mistake – this movie has a dual purpose. In addition to providing some concrete steps to help with your marriage, it presents the Christian gospel in no uncertain terms. As Christian-themed movies go, it was one of the best that I have encountered, but I read reviews of people walking out because they didn’t realize what they were going to see and hear.
The film was made by the same guys who made “Facing the Giants” in 2006, although I found “Fireproof” to be somewhat less heavy-handed in its message without diluting anything essential.
On a side note, it turns out that there is an actual “Love Dare” book that you can buy for just $8.79 at www.thelovedarebook.com (the real one isn’t handwritten, obviously). Although I feel like my own marriage is quite strong, I think I’ll buy a copy just to see if I can make it even stronger.
Overall, I would highly recommend this movie, whether your marriage is hanging by a thread or going strong. If you have a spouse or significant other, it is imperative that you see it together.