This weekend my wife and I had the opportunity to go see Fireproof, the latest movie from the makers of Facing the Giants. Facing the Giants did well when it came out but Fireproof has already beaten it. In fact, Fireproof made an estimated $4 million this weekend and over $12 million since its release two weeks ago, despite showing on only 852 screens, roughly 1/3 to 1/4 of other big Hollywood movies.
Set in Albany, Georgia, Fireproof tells the story of a young married couple whose marriage is more than on the rocks and the struggle of Caleb, at the encouragment of his father, to win back the heart of his wife Catherine who wants out. The writers manage to faithfully paint the picture of what’s surely happening in homes all across America since half of all marriages end in divorce. Who can watch the film and not find something that reminds them of themselves, their friends or their family? The intensity is there, the sadness is there, the hope is there, the fighting is there and the love and romance are there.
While Facing the Giants is a great movie with a great message, the acting was notably mediocre. But Fireproof blows past mediocrity this time with very good acting by most of the characters, especially the two leading actors, Kirk Cameron and Erin Bethea. Both played their parts well and, like any good movie, brought to the big screen what many live in the common life out here in real America. There aren’t any lotteries won (well, not million-dollar lotteries though you’d might say both won in the lottery of relationships). There are no prince and princess fairytales and everyone is just like us. I see all of these people everyday, right here in Mississippi. And that’s part of what makes this film special. There’s no “Pretty Woman” storyline though I’d say Erin Bethea is much prettier than Julia Roberts. There’s no elitism. These are regular people. It’s the story of real people, struggling in life and relationships. And it’s the story of facing head-on all the faults that make us so human, but working hard to overcome them.
While some would argue that this film is made by an Evangelical Church in Georgia and that it talks about Christianity, I’d say it’s worth it, even to the atheist, to see this film and there’d be few Christians that would argue that you don’t need God in your marriage. Despite the religious arguments and complaints that are out there, the film can still be enjoyed and appreciated as well as challenging to any person from any worldview. I’d especially encourage giving it a shot for any of you out there whose marriages are on the rocks.
Fireproof is proof that a low-budget movie ($500,000) can be made that is satisfying to watch and challenging at the same time, all the while avoiding the sex and promiscuity and foul language that pervades most films out of Hollywood.
Watch the trailer below.