The Movie Fireproof; I Liked It

Yes,  I did.  I didn’t expect to.  One of my wife’s patients gave it to her. She was insistent that we watch it, and out of respect for her we did.

A church in Georgia produced the movie and aside from Kirk Cameron, the actors were all amateurs, enlisted from the congregation.  Cameron does a pretty good job (good acting is something I rarely see in these homegrown Evangelical films) but the rest of the cast did a lot better than you would expect from such inexperience. Essentially the movie is built around a real marriage guide called the “Love Dare” which is available on the website as well as in bookstores.

Production values were high, the sound track was decent and the dialogue believable.  It was good to see Christians addressing the issue of divorce, which is like the elephant in the middle of the sanctuary.  Christian marriages, on the whole, last no longer than secular ones; about half end up in divorce. Even if you are not an Evangelical or even a Christian,  there is really good advice in this movie for all married couples.

A couple things I could have done without:  the gratuitous references to Hell (but much fewer than the title of the movie would suggest) could have been left out. They probably turned some folks off the movie (they almost caused me to turn off the TV) and that is a shame because the main thrust of the movie is so good.  And the house that Cameron’s character lived in with his wife was too much of an expensive mansion to be believable as a firehouse captain’s home.  I realize the home site was donated by a local builder but it was jarring inconsistency.  But then again, every character in just about every Hollywood film seems to live in Bel Air or Beverly Hills or some type of hip warehouse conversion in Manhattan.

Good flick. See it. Or visit the website.  Now, I might have to check out “Facing the Giants”.

  1. #1 by Christian Beyer on February 28, 2009 - 12:04 am

    Oh, yeah, you’re right on the money with the character assessment. But I think that was the gist of the movie – he was a pig. They never said it aloud but that’s what the movie was saying. Look how you picked up on it. I was really surprise that they DIDN’T pitch that old “be submissive to you husband” junk. That’s what he wanted for sure. But….

  2. #2 by talia on February 28, 2009 - 5:05 pm

    But I think they did, in a nonverbal way. I think it shows a very male-centered concept of marriage, like the success or failure of a marriage is dependent on the man, and the woman’s just kind of an appendage along for the ride. Either it was just kind of understood that if he started treating her right, she should and would submit to him, or it’s some kind of superreaction on my part based on my being raised in the conservative Christian tradition..
    Oooh plus I forgot another reason! I cannot get over the fact that Kirk Cameron, particularly dressed like he was during the candlelight dinner fiasco, looks like a child of seven. Again, that may just be me..but it made me laugh at a part where laughter was supposed to be generally discouraged. ;]

  3. #3 by Christian Beyer on February 28, 2009 - 5:28 pm

    I’ll admit he’s hard to take as an ‘adult’ but I figure he’s got to be around 40, right? You’re probably right, I think your perspective is a little colored from your background. I was expecting a lot of that submission stuff. But I actually didn’t see all that much of it. If anything it looked as if she was calling the shots here (because she was in the more ‘righteous’ position) and he was learning how to ‘submit’ to her. Which really surprised me, considering the source.

    It wasn’t that he was trying to get her to change. He’s dad got him to realize that the marriage was worth trying to save. By going through the steps of that book, it was Cameron’s character that changed, not his wife’s. Because it was Cameron’s character that was the one screwing things up.

  4. #4 by talia on February 28, 2009 - 5:46 pm

    It’s possible that I’m reading more submission doctrine into this than was actually put in, but in the church I was raised in, Kirk Cameron, cheesy Christian movies of all kinds, and the concept of women’s subordination were all pretty readily embraced. It just struck me as a very conservative movie.
    Yeah..but he only listened to his dad in the first place because he was a man! I was particularly disappointed with the friend who said “You’re right, your wife does need to respect you” without challenging him to examine whether he repected her and even whether he deserved to be respected.

  5. #5 by Christian Beyer on March 1, 2009 - 12:59 am

    But was that friend portrayed as being on the right track or just another typical fundamentalist male? I really think these folks were trying to address these stereotypes, which considering where they are coming from, was pretty daring. He only listened to his dad was because he had no respect for his mother – they deliberately portrayed him as a chauvinist. Then it turns out that his mother was the brains behind the whole thing but because both his parents knew that he, being a chauvinist, wouldn’t have listened to his mother. So they faked him out. I think the producers of this flick were trying, very subtly, to point out the hypocrisy and double standards of the evangelical ‘submission’ ideology.

  6. #6 by Christian Beyer on March 1, 2009 - 1:01 am

    I’ll tell ya, Talia. If this movie had been the same old evangelical whitewash (which is what I expected) then I wouldn’t hesitate to send it to the ash can. There were things that I wasn’t crazy about (which I mention above) but overall I thought it was a pretty credible effort.

  1. Wives, Stop Submitting to Your Husbands. It’s The 21st Century, For Crying Out Loud. « SHARP IRON
  2. In Which the Author Reveals Her True Feelings on “Fireproof”, and How It Got Her Written About, However Briefly, On Someone Else’s Blog « adventures of a starving artist…

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