FireproofDannelle Rose Buenacasa
After Stephen and Alex Kendrick’s successful Christian films “Flywheel”(more than 50,000 DVD’s sold) and “Facing The Giants” (which grossed more than $10 million in box office receipts), the Lord led them to write a movie on marriage. “The Lord impressed on me to focus on marriage, which was not what I was inclined to do,” shares Alex Kendrick. Then came the brilliant idea: What if a firefighter, whose purpose is to put out fires, was in a marriage that was symbolically going through a fiery trial itself? (As a side note, the divorce rates among firefighters is 70%) With God’s guidance, the support of Sherwood Baptist Church, and the help of over a thousand volunteers and a few professionals (the latter working for below-normal pay), “Fireproof”, a $500,000 movie, was born. The movie uses the old firefighter’s adage “Never leave your partner behind.”
Caleb Holt (played skillfully by Kirk Cameron) is a firefighter who has been married for seven years. His wife is Catherine (Erin Bethea, in her first major film role) who works fulltime at the local hospital as a public relations director. The tension and stress in their marriage is evident from the first scene they appear in together. After a heated argument, Catherine declares that she “just wants out” to which Caleb replies that it’s fine with him. In a fit of rage, she sheds her wedding ring. His concerned father, John Holt (Harris Malcom) with whom his close relationship is evident throughout the movie, has one request for him. “Hold off on the divorce for 40 days. I am going to send you something in the mail that takes that long to do. Take it as a gift from your father.”
Meanwhile, it’s no secret to Catherine that in his days off of fighting fires, her husband spends his free time surfing the internet… satisfying his addiction to pornography and dreaming of a pleasure boat that he has saved $24,000 for. What Caleb doesn’t know is that a young doctor at Catherine’s workplace has taken an interest in her. Looking for the attention and love that she lacks at home, she begins a slow fade into a relationship with this man.
Caleb receives the gift from his father, which turns out to be a book called, “The Love Dare”, a 40-day journey with a new dare every day for his relationship with his wife. Eagerly he takes on the challenge, sharing his progress with his firefighter friend, Lieutenant Michael Simmons (real-life Marine Captain Ken Bevel). Throughout the movie, Michael is a steadfast example of a Godly and loving husband, and one who truly has a relationship with God and lives it out. He exhorts Caleb to keep his wedding vows, reminding him that marriage is lifelong covenant, not just a contract. “The sad part about it is, when most people promise for better or for worse, they really only mean for the better,” Michael points out. “Marriages aren't fireproof... sometimes you get burned,” Caleb argues. “Fireproof doesn't mean that a fire will never come, but that when it comes, you'll be able to withstand it,” Michael wisely replies.
Caleb wants nothing to do with God or His Word, the Bible, and even skips over the Bible verses at the end of each day’s reading in The Love Dare. But regardless of the chores he does or the kind gestures he shows his wife, she wants nothing to do with him.
Interwoven in the story are intense firefighting and thrilling rescue scenes—even a rescue of a car stuck on a railway track with a train fast approaching. Excitement is prevalent, and strong emotional scenes are interspersed with humor. Stirring and encouraging music is woven into key scenes that parallel the message of the song—songs like “Slow Fade” by Casting Crowns, and “While I’m Waiting” by John Waller.
Halfway through his journey in The Love Dare, after every attempt to win back his wife’s heart has failed or been thwarted by her co-worker friend’s bad advice, Caleb takes a memorable walk with his father. During their conversation, John Holt endeavors to show his son his need for salvation, but Caleb only wants to talk about his wife and her unwillingness to accept his kindness. “You can’t give her what you don’t have,” his father points out. In one of my favorite lines of the whole movie, Caleb blurts out, “How am I supposed to love someone over and over, who constantly rejects me?” He looks up to see his father standing beneath a wooden cross. In the end, Caleb accepts his need for Christ, His salvation and forgiveness. His newfound faith’s power now adds to his love for his wife, and once he destroys his addiction, he is ready to win her back—with his heart now in the right place. Is it too late for Catherine to love him again? I’ll leave you to watch the movie, but I’m sure you’ll love the outcome!
One of the best things about this film is that the turn of the story occurs halfway through, and you are able to see how it progresses and flourishes from there.
Fireproof is rated PG for thematic material (including heated arguments, evangelism) and some peril (intense fire and rescue scenes). Although pornography is mentioned, it is never shown.
When Fireproof opened in theaters on September 26, 2008, it came in at #4 at the box office, and stayed near the top for much longer than any critics foresaw. Amazing testimonies began pouring in on the life-changing effect that the movie had on moviegoers and marriages. The DVD will be released on January 27, 2009, and it can be pre-ordered now. Outreach Films is Movie Event Packages for churches and packs of DVD’s, and has begun to ship these out beginning December 5, 2008. For more information on what Outreach Films has to offer churches, please visit www.outreachfilms.com. For more information about Fireproof and the marriage resources available, please visit www.fireproofthemovie.com and www.fireproofyourmarriage.com.