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|Fireproof [Film/DVD Review] | Posted February 02, 2009
Prior to 2005, Sherwood Baptist Church was relatively unknown to folks outside of its
home in Albany, Georgia. When the church produced and created its first film Flywheel
in 2005, the ripples started to be felt outside the southern Georgia city of 76,000. The film had been somewhat of a success thus starting a film ministry that would reach out to the entire nation just three short years later.
The church’s next project was a film about a down-and-out football coach who was about to lose his job because his team’s poor performance and dismal outcome season after season. Only after a spiritual awakening does the team truly come together and play as one, after much prayer and support from God. The film cost a meager $100,000 to make, which in Hollywood terms means ‘straight-to-video’. Not this one. The film, Facing the Giants went onto gross over 10 million dollars nationwide and wowed critics
from coast-to-coast. I know that the filmmakers, brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick were surprised at the film’s success.
2008 brings the release of the church’s third film, Fireproof. I was really excited to see
what the Kendrick brothers had in store this time. When I received the first press release
for Fireproof in the fall of 2007, the plot outline of the new film had finally been revealed. My first response was, “Huh? A movie about marriage?” I knew that a documentary about marriage might work, but an entire film focused on it? I admit I was skeptical at first. Had the movie-magic that had put this church on the map gone out?
In one simple answer, no it had not.
One important note to add, just like Flywheel and Facing the Giants, this film was made, once again completely by volunteers. Kirk Cameron even volunteered his time for the film.
My wife Shannon and I got a chance to attend a screening on July 17th in Tampa, FL. For the three months leading up to the screening we had done interviews with three people that were somehow associated with the film. First was Warren Barfield, whose musical contribution was used as the main song for the film, “Love is Not a Fight”; the second was writer-director Alex Kendrick (Coach Taylor from Giants) and most recently Kirk Cameron who plays the lead character, Caleb Holt.
For just a little over two hours, emotions went from exciting to thrilling to sad to happy again and well, you get the picture. Like Giants, the film had a little bit of everything. While the film would mainly be considered a drama in my opinion, there was a little bit of each categorization in this one. It had comedy, it had action and most importantly it had ministering value that is often missing from what a lot of movies offer these days.
The film’s main plot centers around Caleb Holt’s (Cameron) interaction and visibly tattered marriage [or lack thereof] with his wife Catherine (played extraordinarily well by Erin Bethea), whom he has been married to for seven years. At first glance of the relationship it appears that all is lost. Caleb, captain of the Albany Fire Department, seems to have it all. A good paying job, a nice house and a beautiful wife. But under the surface of the relationship lies a time bomb ready to explode.
I was very impressed with Kirk Cameron’s acting in this film. I mean I had seen him in a few episodes of “Growing Pains” and of course his work in the Left Behind films, but his performance in Fireproof just blew me away! There was raw energy (and rage) in his character unlike anything I have seen in him before. When you see the film, you will know and see what I mean. It’s not likely that you’ll see Cameron nominated for an academy award for Best Actor, because you know in order to do that there has to be ultra violence, sexual content and lots of meaningless cursing and vulgarity going on so,
no I don’t think he’ll have the chance this time around. Lol. But so what, Kirk does what I believe the Lord has called him to do. Use his acting abilities to bring honor and glory to God.
Without giving too much of the film away, the main focus on the film revolves around a journal that Caleb’s father sends him. It’s called ‘The Love Dare’. A forty day journey into really discovering (and rediscovering) what true and meaningful marriage should be about and how the Lord intended for it to be. After agreeing with his father to hold off on divorce for forty days, he decides to give it a chance. One problem though. His wife thinks (and her friends also help convince her) he is trying to ‘butter’ her up for a divorce. So of course she pays no attention to his attempts. After a while of trying, Caleb wants to give up. Only after talking with his father about his recent new found faith in Christ, then Caleb’s eyes start to open to reveal the selfish and prideful person he
Can Caleb overcome all of this in time to save his marriage? Well, I guess you’ll just have to wait and go see the movie to find out!
Just to point out the a few of the comedic moments in the film, one recurring piece of the movie that I just thought was hysterical was after every fight Caleb has with his wife, he goes outside and either beats and kicks the living daylights out of his trash or goes savage on it with a baseball bat, there’s the old guy next store who witnesses it every time and just shrugs and says “Caleb” when Cameron’s character notices him outside. It’s hard to explain, but it’s a part of the film that really caught my attention and made me laugh.
Questions that I get most frequently about the film in discussions are, “Is this a family film? Can I take my kids to go and see it?” The answer is, while the film is rated PG and has no offensive content (in my opinion), it would probably put most kids to sleep. Sorry! The next question I get asked, “This film is about marriage, can I as a single person go see it and enjoy it?” Yes, absolutely. I think if anything that a single person could get from this film is maybe a little bit of insight on what not to do in a marriage. Who knows, maybe this film could help you avoid mistakes that are often made in
marriages. The third question is, “Should every married couple see this film?” I think so. I think every married couple should see this film. I honestly believe that Fireproof came along as a way that the Lord can help those who are in failing relationships and whose marriages are on the rocks. It definitely ‘hit a lot of nails on the head’ for me and my wife. I never really thought of certain aspects of marriage in the way I did after having seen this film. I would even go as far to say that if you know a couple, maybe
couples, who are non-believers, invite them to go see it. Pay for them to go see it. I think it would definitely be a way to not only witness to them for Jesus, but to maybe help mend a relationship that is broken and in need of repair. Repair that only God can work.
Fireproof is an amazing film that portrays marriage in a real spotlight, a story that’s honest and believable. I think this is something that people need to see. Marriage should be held sacred, because in God’s eyes it is. One of the movie’s taglines, also a scripture is important to remember. “Marriage is to be held in honor among all” Hebrews 13:4a. And by marriage, God means one man and one woman. Just wanted to clarify that last part.
Go check it out September 26th; you won’t be disappointed you did!
DVD Release Review (January 27, 2009)
Before you check out the special features on
the DVD, I would definitely watch the film if
you haven't already. But if you have seen the
film already, then checking out the 'Special
Features' section of the disc would be cool.
The DVD release features all of the normal
added bonus features found on a lot of today's
releases including: Behind the Scenes footage,
Director's Commentary & Deleted Scenes.
A few of the things that I found particularly
funny were the outtakes, the on-set pranks
and of course the feature "Fireproof in 60 Seconds" (which is hilarious by the way!).
The DVD also includes the music video "Slow Fade" which is performed by Casting Crowns.
I sat down and spent probably 2 hours or so just perusing through the special feature. It was definitely a treat!
Rating: 9.1 out of 10 (91%, A-)
Review written by: Jay Heilman | Review can also be found here.
This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from ChristianMusicReview.org. Click here to visit ChristianMusicReview.org today!
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|Awesome Movie! | Posted March 13, 2009
Fireproof is an awesome Christian movie. I have seen Facing the Giants and I was so stoked to find out that Sherwood Pictures put out another movie. I don't know if I could pick a favorite. Fireproof was filled with every kind of emotion! I laughed, I cried. It was action packed. The scenes were put together really well and the acting was great. It was cool to see Kirk Cameron playing the lead role of Caleb Holt. It is definitely a movie for the whole family to watch especially married couples. It has a great level of Christian faith and the story line is like no other. The music used in this movie is also great. You get some Casting Crowns, John Waller, and more. It's an all-around great movie. See it if you haven't already.
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