In an effort to find meaning and purpose in my writing, I brought out some old DVDs of mine, and decided to watch Fireproof again. This film from Alex and Stephen Kendrick depicts a troubled marriage, and demonstrates how making a decision to follow Christ and to be committed to your spouse brings about a sea-change in you, despite your circumstances.
Early on in the movie, we meet Caleb (Kirk Cameron) and Catherine Holt, a young married couple, both of whom are successful as a firefighter and hospital administrator, respectively. They have a nice home, cars and clothes. Caleb is well liked and respected at his job, where he is captain, as is Catherine at her job. At home however, we see that Caleb is inconsiderate of his spouse, and uses pornography. She is upset because of that, and due to the fact that Caleb has saved thousands of dollars for a boat, while her sick mother needs an expensive hospital bed and a new wheelchair. In a heated argument, Caleb is all but physically violent in his rage against Catherine. She breaks down and says she wants a divorce, and Caleb, frustrated with what he sees as her lack of respect for him, wants to be free of their conflict as well.
Caleb’s father hears of the impending divorce and urges Caleb to try something to save the marriage. He gives him a book called The Love Dare. The book consists of 40 days of relational challenges to understand and practice unconditional love. Caleb agrees to try The Love Dare, as he does still love his wife, and because he respects his father, though he does not share his new found faith in God.
Catherine, meanwhile, is being tempted by a young doctor at work, and as Caleb attempts to win her back, she drawing closer to this seemingly charming man who is trying to start a relationship with her. Caleb interacts with his senior firefighter at work, who suggests to Caleb that his heart is not fully committed to his challenge. When Caleb becomes deeply frustrated at his wife’s seeming indifference to his attempts to win her back, he speaks to his dad, who demonstrates to Caleb that we treated Christ the same way when he died on the Cross for us. This is the turning point in the movie, where Caleb’s life and his influence on others changes forever.
Fireproof is well acted, produced and directed, and has good drama, action and humor. Many Christian films, due to low budgets or inexperienced talent, do not have the high production values of most Hollywood movies, but I watch them for their heart and message. Another factor that causes people to avoid these stories is that they are clean and wholesome. Society is so jaded by modern media, that when the average viewer watches the first ten minutes of a film with no swearing or sex, they find it to be hokey and unrealistic. If you are looking for a movie with a great story that is wholesome, realistic and inspiring, Fireproof will deliver.