991 of 1,015 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2009
Reading the reviews here and seeing the variety of reactions to Fireproof is almost as interesting as the movie itself.
Most of the positive reviews focus on the message. Most of the negative reviews focus on the technical quality of the movie, and/or the reviewers' feelings about Christianity. Accordingly, I'd like to chime in on these three topics.
Technical Quality: Although I did like the movie, I have to admit the negative reviewers have a point here. The cinematography and special effects are more in line with what you'd expect on a TV show than a feature film. There's nothing glaringly awful, but the viewer is definitely aware this film was not financed like a big-budget Hollywood movie.
The acting performances are about the same. Cameron puts in a solid professional job, but nothing that's going to go down in history as one of the great performances of all time. The rest of the cast is pretty spotty, and most of them have at least one line or one scene that comes off a bit lame. Again, not so bad as to be unwatchable, but definitely below average for feature films.
The Message: This is why people like the film, and why I liked it too. There are actually two messages here - one about marriage and one about Christianity. Most of the negative reviewers can't seem to separate these two issues, which is understandable since there' entwined. Let me take a stab at dealing with them separately.
The marriage-related messages portrayed in this movie are:
1) Married people who are predominantly focused on their own feelings and their own needs are not likely to succeed. Marriage takes a lot of work, and a predominantly selfless attitude.
2) In order for a marriage to work, both partners have to be willing to admit that they are flawed human beings, that they make mistakes, that they are sometimes selfish and hurtful, and that they sometimes have to ask humbly to be forgiven. Christians certainly recognize this message, but it applies equally to non-Christians (except for those who are perfect, many of whom apparently have written reviews of Fireproof here).
3) There will be conflicts and hard times during a marriage, and when this happens, both partners must be committed to making it work and ensuring the survival of the marriage - even when this seems like a lot of work and doesn't seem to be rewarded or recognized.
4) For a marriage to really work, both partners will have to continually grow and improve themselves - often in ways that are not comfortable and entail sacrifices.
Anyone who has actually been married for a while and worked through problems will recognize the above themes as true to life - and, most emphatically, true to life in a way that Hollywood movie portrayals of love and romance are definitely not true to life.
I believe that most of the people who liked this movie - certainly me and my wife - are resonating with FINALLY a movie that seems to understand what enduring marriage and love that grows over the years are really all about. Most movies portray love as a state of blissful happiness - which it sometimes is - but miss the larger picture of love as an ongoing project that two people work on, working hard and selflessly, for many years.
The Christian Message: People who are just flat-out offended by Christianity, or those who have past traumas, grudges, or anger toward Christians, simply are not going to like this movie. If you're in this group, just don't go.
The people in this movie express and embody their work on their marriage and their personal growth through their faith. If you're a Christian, you will very likely identify with this and see it is a positive.
If you're a non-Christian who has a generally benign, friendly attitude toward Christianity and Christians, this movie might be worth a try for you. The challenges these folks face and the things they have to overcome are not limited only to Christians, and may be familiar to you. They do frame their solutions and their personal work in Christian terms. If you're interested in Christianity, or how Christains frame and work through personal problems, then this movie might have some interest for you.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2008
After seeing this move my husband I and stayed up all night talking about our relationship and issues we had buried for years. The movie was the catalyst for a weekend I'll never forget. We feel like newlyweds again. This movie can change your life!
157 of 188 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2008
I watched this movie at the local theater TWICE last week and loved it both times. It evokes a variety of emotions including laughter, tears, tension. Many co-workers watched it also and we could not stop talking about it. The writing is superb! The actors and actresses are perfect for their parts (even the church members that have roles).
Even if you are not married, this movie can still teach you about relationships. Just because you are single or have a good marriage does not mean you should not watch it.
An excellent addition to any movie library. The Kendrick brothers just keep getting better!
143 of 171 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2009
I see that a few folks have given very angry negative reviews because of this pic's Christian perspective, but their emotional reaction misses the point entirely. The film is not trying to convert anyone, it's simply trying to show that even a badly damaged marriage can be redeemed, and is worth redeeming.
OK, not as glossy as we've come to expect from the studios - the acting is, for the most part, pretty poor, and the dialog is stilted. But - take it from someone who has been there - I've never seen a movie that better depicted the hurt, frustration, and hopelessness of a failing marriage, and what can be accomplished if one makes the commitment to save it.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2008
This is the best christian movie I have ever seen. I know the actors where all volunteers and did the movie from their love of God & the need to turn out movies that the christian community can enjoy. The story will emotionally grip you. There was laughter just at the right time. The issues the main characters face are real in any marriage, especially in our age of disposable marriages.
We went to see this movie with a few of our couple friends and there was not a dry eye in the theater. It makes you think and want to come back & try harder on your own marriage. Inspirational!
Highly recommend! This would make a great present for any couple.
29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2008
Fireproof was an amazing movie. For any of you who are married and need a little encouragement - this is a movie for you. It is a great Christian movie in a world where emotions and selfishness rule. Finally, there is a movie that addresses the REAL meaning of love and sacrifice. It is a must see for EVERYONE. Come ready to find or renew your faith in Jesus!
42 of 53 people found the following review helpful
RELATIONSHIPS. That is what this movie is about. It is about the relationships between the men of a firehouse that depend upon each other. It is about a marriage and depending on each other, wife to husband, and he to her. The movie is about parent relationships--the kind that last a lifetime. The movie is about God, and a personal relationship with Him. RELATIONSHIPS!
From the makers of "FACING the GIANTS", this newest movie, "Fireproof", has surpassed what many 'Hollywood' movies attain. It is an emotional roller coaster that will have you gasping, laughing, crying, holding your breath, wanting to scream a warning...and perhaps, even a standing ovation at the end. The movie is filled with plenty of firefighting action, hero stunts, as well as some of the most tender moments ever placed on film.
Capt. Caleb Holt (Kirk Cameron) must try to guide the firehouse team through many emergencies, training, and firehouse interaction while he sees his marriage dissolving on the home front. He gives up on the marriage...UNTIL...his father convinces him to wait 40 days and follow what he calls a "The Love Dare," a daily task written out in a notebook by the father's own hand. Wife Catherine (Erin Bethea), also is ready to dissolve the marriage going nowhere. She gets attention at work from a young doctor and decides a divorce is needed as soon as possible. Caleb accepts his dad's challenge but his daily attempts seem only to fail. Fortunately, a fellow firefighter, Lt. Michael Simmons (Ken Bevel) is a constant, dedicated, and Christian friend as well as co-worker.
There will be many who will say this movie is for every couple that is having difficulties and their marriage relationship is in jeopardy. That is true, BUT, this marriage is even better for working marriages, marriages that yet have some flame, at least a spark, so they can see again what is important in life and in a relationship. Not to "Fireproof" the marriage but to "fan the flames."
And just when the movie's ending arrives, you are wishing it never had to end, and your bag of popcorn has caught the last tear, there is one additional surprise extra-ending. I'll not spoil it. What a wonderful job of writing by brothers, Stephen and Alex Kendrick. Alex also directed. What a ministry/witness by the entire production staff, cast, and the church that prays and accomplishes a product like this story.
I agree with others, when available, give it as a gift. The gift that keeps on giving. 5 gems for the crowns of everyone associated with this picture.
58 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2008
When I went to see this with my parents; I just expected a movie about firefighting, because my dad is a firefighter, and he wanted to see it also! It turned out to be a movie about love, God, and marriage. Captain Caleb Holt is a firefighter who is having problems with his wife, Catherine. They have a huge fight, and Catherine wants a divorce. Caleb visits his dad and dad gives him a book about a 40 day challenge. Each day, he has to do something nice for his wife, like buying her flowers, and making a romantic dinner. It's not all serious, there are quite a few funny moments, and a little suspense when it comes to firefighting. When Catherine thinks that Caleb is being nice just to get money from the divorce, he still doesn't stop. Around the 20th day, Caleb finally wants to commit to keeping Catherine. It gets really emotional sometimes. If you are a fireman, like love stories, or a Christian, you'll love FIREPROOF!!!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2008
From acclaimed writer/directors Stephen and Alex Kendrick comes their third feature film. Fresh from the resounding successful Facing the Giants, Sherwood Films presents Fireproof. The film is a story about a crumbling marriage between a couple who have both given up on each other and love. Caleb Holt (Kirk Cameron) and his wife Catherine (Erin Bethra) are finished trying to reconcile with one another and decide to call it quits after seven years of marriage. That is until Caleb's father imposes a challenge in the form of a book. For 40 days Caleb will learn to recapture his wife's heart. But it's not as easy as he thinks, nor is his wife accepting of her husband's changes. Can Caleb learn the truth about love in time to rescue his wife before their marriage goes up in smoke?
When I first heard about this film and watched the trailer online one thought popped into my mind: here comes another low budget Christian film just like all the others that will crash and burn. Don't get me wrong I support Christian films because I understand the message they want to get across as filmmakers, yet low expectations just seem to come along with these films. Those expectations were blown out of the water by Fireproof.
Made on a shoestring budget, the acting and special effects don't scream summer blockbuster, but that isn't the point here. The true identity of this film is a character driven force which has the power to stand on its own. The couple becomes real in a common sense, and audiences can relate to their problems and emotions displayed on screen. And just when I thought the plot was going to give in to the typical happy ending it took a twist and powered on. The Christian message embedded in Fireproof isn't pushy or over done either; it comes off as realized and truthful. Not only have the Kendrick brothers delivered an amazing film, but a Bible study and connection resources are available to those who want to extend past the movie.
Fireproof seems to have it all comedy, drama, thrills, and a few tear-jerkers. But, what it all comes down to is a simple message of love. In the society we live in today where our economy is declining and relationships are drowning, films like this are paramount. Let the movie's experience open your heart, if not in your marriage, in your personal walk. Take hold of something bigger than yourself, challenge yourself to do what is right, and fight for the redemption of your soul. With such large support of this film, I hope that these filmmakers and crew can continue to raise the bar for features to come.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2008
Since this is supposed to be a Christian movie, my immediate urge is to evaluate it on the basis of its doctrinal faithfulness. From this point of view, I would say some evangelicals, particularly Calvinists may have some problems with "Fireproof", specifically on two fronts. Firstly, it is in regard to how to do evangelism related to the doctrine of limited atonement where in this movie, the message "Jesus died for you" seems to be declared indiscriminately which, if one is familiar with Kirk Cameron's and Ray Comfort's "The Way of the Master," they themselves disagree with this approach. Secondly, due to its marriage-centered theme, unless we are careful, we may mistakenly view the gospel mainly or merely to cure troubled marriages through therapeutic programs.
With this said, however, this movie is one of a few examples where something is better than nothing for at least three reasons. Firstly, it is a family-friendly movie that portrays realities of what happens in most homes as well as godly responsible parents with a genuine care over their children. So if anyone is having a hard time finding a meaningful profanity-free, bloodbath-free, and lewdness-free movie to watch, "Fireproof" is one of the rare few these days. Secondly, with half of all marriages in America ending in divorce and the worldview of marriage as being a contract rather than a covenant, as well as adverse examples from political, religious leaders, and celebrities of their shattered marriages, "Fireproof" is helpful to prevent further damages in society; in particular for singles planning to get married, as well as those facing relationship issues that potentially lead to divorce or even those who have divorced. If there were only a single message, but there is certainly more, to learn from "Fireproof", it would be for couples considering a divorce not to rush to look for lawyers and sign papers. And for everyone, the lesson is that marriage is a covenant to stick together for better or worse, though it may be hard to embrace this covenantal view of marriage unless one understands the gospel, because marriage is an illustration of an eternal relationship between Christ as the bridegroom and the Church as His bride which leads to the third and most important reason, that is, it presents the Christian gospel. If Steven Spielberg spices up his movies with secular humanistic messages; if witchcraft, which is a form of religion, is unashamedly displayed and encouraged in the Harry Potter's series; why can't the public be exposed to Christianity-themed films? Therefore, despite some criticisms of "Fireproof," I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it still.