Title: Fireproof (2008; PG)
Director: Alex Kendrick
Major Themes: Marriage
Synopsis: Although he is a hero at work, Caleb is anything but in his own home. Is there any hope for his marriage—or will selfishness and anger light a fire he cannot stop?
Fireproof was quite a hit several years ago, and it still seems to be fairly popular (although, these days it is overshadowed by Courageous and War Room since they are newer). Regardless, this is a great movie, one that many can relate to and find help and encouragement in. We recently re-watched the film as a family, and as an older sister I had to wonder what my family would be like if we applied some of the concepts shared in The Love Dare to our relationships with each other. Would we be happier? Undoubtedly. Would it be difficult? For sure. But worth it? Absolutely.
Caleb Holt leads the men in his fire station with confidence. They practice hard together, study hard together, and do hard work together. As a team, they do their job well. However, as chief of his home, Caleb is struggling. Catherine has lost all respect she had for him over the seven years of their marriage, and with divorce papers on the near horizon Caleb is ready to give up. There seems to be no way out of the tension and anger that surfaces in every conversation.
Caleb’s father tries to help, but will Caleb be able to try (and succeed in) the one solution he has left—spending forty days showing he cares about the marriage in a bid to gain back Catherine’s love and respect? Can he continue showing love and doing acts of kindness, even when Catherine rejects every move? What happens when Caleb finds out that a young doctor at work is showing Catherine special attention? Is there any hope for their relationship?
Caleb begins the dare doing just enough to get by. “Don’t say anything unkind today”, the first day reads, “if the temptation comes, don’t say anything at all.” Well, that’s not too hard—but the next day in addition to the first dare, “do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.” Selflessness doesn’t come easy. When he hits a low point half-way through, he must find the strength to overcome—the strength that can only come from God. Making the choice to accept that might just be the hardest thing yet.
Overall, I think Fireproof deserves the praise it has received over the years. Sadly, not all marriages can be saved by following the steps given here, but applying these concepts to all relationships (at least, as many as would work—some tips wouldn’t apply to just any relationship) could potentially be very helpful and upbuilding. I felt like the ending was well done, although possibly almost too picture-perfect. However, the overall message and storyline are great. I loved the thought that came out about making sure that you’re doing all you can to build the relationship before blaming others for their faults. And there are a few great humor bits (some that have been quoted repeatedly around our house!) that enliven the generally somber tone of the movie.
WARNING: There were two places that parents may want to know about. From 16:00–22:48, there is a scene where a bad car accident happens and a fireman is almost killed by a train while attempting to help get two people off the tracks. Very graphic (screaming, etc.), and definitely high in the danger scale. Then from 1:05:53–1:13:05, there is a house fire where a fireman searches for a girl who is trapped inside, and ends up having to chop through the floor to get her out. Also quite graphic, as there are times when flaming wood is falling around them. Other than those two places (we sent the younger children out of the room for those times), it’s completely fine.
Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above, Adults, Family Friendly