|Arts & Entertainment|
|Breaking Open the Word|
|World & Nation|
Inspiring film ‘Fireproof’ affirms the Christian vision for marriage
Hollywood veteran Kirk Cameron stars as a fireman who finds redemption
By Roxanne King
Billed as an action-packed love story about a firefighter, his wife and a marriage worth rescuing, “Fireproof” delivers.
This stirring film based on the firefighter’s adage, “Never leave your partner behind,” may not win an Oscar, but it will touch hearts. And that’s the goal of this latest release by Sherwood Pictures, creators of “Facing the Giants” (2006) and “Flywheel” (2003).
Sherwood Pictures is a church-based studio in Albany, Ga., that serves up faith-filled warmth and humor in its films. “Fireproof” shares the Christian vision of marriage as it explores a relationship headed for divorce.
After seven years of marriage, Caleb (Kirk Cameron) and Catherine (Erin Behea) Holt have drifted apart. With high pressure jobs—he’s the captain of the town’s fire department, she’s the PR director for a hospital—each feels unappreciated by the other. They argue constantly about jobs, finances and housework. After a particularly volatile fight, Catherine tearfully declares she wants out.
While Catherine turns to her well-meaning but misguided friends for comfort and finds herself increasingly smitten by the attentions of a young doctor, Caleb shares his frustration with a trusted co-worker, Lt. Michael Simmons (Ken Bevel) who is known for his strong Christian faith, and with his father (Harris Malcom). His dad, a born-again Christian, urges Caleb to hold off on the divorce and instead commit to a 40-day project he calls “The Love Dare,” which he says saved his own marriage.
Caleb reluctantly agrees but his efforts at rebuilding his marital relationship are stubbornly shunned by Catherine, providing the film with its tension as it explores the real challenges of trying to live as a Christian while battling both inner demons—Caleb’s use of Internet porn—and outer ones, Catherine’s growing attraction to someone else.
As Caleb slowly realizes he’s called to love his wife as God loves his people—unconditionally and sacrificially—and that he cannot do that without God’s grace, conversion and redemption take place.
Take Kleenex for the satisfying, emotive ending.
Hollywood veteran Cameron (of “Growing Pains” fame), is the only well-known actor in the all-volunteer cast of remarkably competent performers. Action shots depicting rescues inside a burning house and of accident victims trapped on a railroad track with an oncoming train are well executed. Comic relief is provided by self-important engine driver Wayne Floyd (Stephen Dervan), whose big talk makes him a target for firehouse jokes. A rousing soundtrack featuring several contemporary Christian artists—Warren Barfield’s “Love is Not a Fight” is a stand-out—adds to the film’s emotional appeal.
The film has garnered rave reviews from Christian organizations, including a recommendation from Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Committee on Marriage and Family Life.
“’Fireproof’ is an excellent film,” he said, “that makes marriage commitment real and attainable with God’s grace.”
At an advance screening in Denver last month for those involved in marriage ministry, viewers gave the film a thumbs-up.
“That is what we see and what we hear in working with couples,” said Mindy Dalton, 40, who with her husband Matt runs a marriage ministry called Alexander House. “The whole selfishness vs. selflessness conflict,” she continued, “and how marriage is about a gift of self.”
“This is a film about the redemptive love of God,” said Phil Webb, director of the Denver Archdiocese’s Marriage and Family Office, which sponsored the screening. “It shows how we are to love as God loves.”
“It touched my heart,” said natural family planning instructor Sandy Polocz, 38.
Polocz’s husband Rob, 31, agreed.
“It was great,” he said. “I think it will give a lot of hope to couples that they can overcome the challenges and difficulties of married life.”
The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG—parental guidance suggested. The film opens Sept. 26.
|What: independent film about Christian marriage
When: opens Sept. 26
Information: visit Fireproof theMovie.com online
Catholic Marriage Resources
Visit: ForYourMarriage.org online
What: U.S. bishops’ Web site for marriage resources