cinema review: Fireproof (2008)

updated with video...
Morality plays have a long history and Fireproof plays it safe and sticks with traditional story telling of this genre. What can one expect from this genre? Nothing is left to the imagination. What could be said with a glance in any other movie, is assisted with stilted dialog. Hence, it feels like a child's movie, an After School Special. This does not make it a bad movie. Rather, it is a good story hindered by a fear of uncertainty. Several times I spoke out loud to the movie and pleaded with it to "Show me, don't tell me." That principle separates the sheep from the goats in writing class and the adults from the kids in cinema. As a visit to the reviews at Rotten Tomatoes will prove, adults are insulted by this movie. My kids did like the movie, however. About half-way through the movie, I became more interested in the story. I think any adult can because, with half the marriages in this country ending in divorce, everyone knows someone divorced or getting divorced. All of us wish we had some influence over the partners to make things better, or at least encourage them to behave in the interest of the other.

This story has a happy ending because Kirk Cameron's character, jerky husband and fire chief, is challenged by his father to romance his wife while the lawyers begin the journey to separation. Kirk does and she comes back to him. They also get born again (see John 3:3) as well. We evangelicals are threatened by art and even more threatened by ambiguous art. Bella, which I reviewed earlier, is full of ambiguity, but it is Christ-haunted (it's also ambitiously artistic). The aroma of Christ lingers on after that movie. Fireproof sprays you with the full force of a fire hose. After the movie, one leaves dripping wet with Christ. For those not eager to get soaked, they'll likely leave irritated, but they'll leave Bella intrigued.

Hence, I recommend one not spring this on your unsaved friends. Be honest that you'd like to share a Christian movie with them. It's worth recommending as a morality play about keeping the romance alive in a marriage. They will adjust their expectations accordingly.

Update: here's a 60 second video summary of the movie.


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