Fireproof: Combining Faith with Storytelling

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In many Christian films Jesus is the answer to life’s problems and the latest film by Sherwood Baptist Church is no different to the genre. They exploded on the theater screens and surprised Hollywood with their 2006 hit Facing The Giants about a Christian high school football team who learns to succeed by giving God their very best both on and off the field. This time around they tackle the subject of marriage.

In Fireproof, Firefighter Caleb Colt (played by Kirk Cameron) and his wife Catherine of seven years are contemplating divorce. Caleb’s father gives him a book called “The Love Dare,” which challenges him to show love for his wife with his actions even when her actions don’t deserve it. Not quite ready to throw in the towel, Caleb takes on the forty-day challenge.
Some dares are easy (and should be intuitive) like fixing your wife breakfast, calling her at work to check-in, and sending her flowers. Some dares aren’t so easy, such as the dare to give up additions to anything drawing attention from your wife, which for Caleb is a battle with pornography. While most Christian films show a conversion moment of a character accepting Jesus as the climax and happy ending of the story, the conversion moment for Caleb comes early in the film, which allows the audience to see how his life and actions change as a result of Christ. In one powerful example, he takes out the computer, beats it to pieces with a bat, and leaves a note for his wife in its place that reads “I love you more” (than my addition to pornography). He also becomes slower to anger, a generous giver, and ultimately a better husband to Catherine.

Fireproof was written and directed by two pastors from Sherwood Baptist Church and stars an entire cast from its own church membership, excluding star Kirk Cameron who volunteered his time after being approached for the project in a chance encounter at the airport. Only a handful of experienced Hollywood workers served on the crew, with church volunteers helping with catering, lighting, grip work, etc. to help lower the budget.

This film is more entertaining than Kirk Cameron’s previous Christian project Left Behind. While that 2000 film cost nearly $17 million to make, Fireproof cost a mere $500,000 and is surprisingly a more engaging film with better production values. There are two action sequences in the film. One has firefighters moving a stuck car out of the way of an oncoming train and another has Caleb rescuing a young girl from a burning home. Both are portrayed with realism and intensity that surpasses the average Christian film standards. There is also a good deal of humor in the film, especially between the firefighters who come across as a mini-fraternity with similar joking around and pranks between each other that is fairly amusing.

It should provoke good conversation and will be an encouragement in today’s society for any couple striving to keep their vows…

While the film was made by Christians and will be embraced largely by Christians, it is a worthy piece of work for any married couple to see. The central characters manage to present a strong, conservative faith without coming across as crazy. Many of the marriage tips will benefit any couple, whether or not they believe the God element of the equation. Fireproof should provoke good conversation and will be an encouragement in today’s society for any couple striving to keep their vows to love their spouse “in good times and bad…till death do us part.”

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