Fireproof passes test

Finally, the arrival of a quality movie that is overtly Christian with a clear Gospel presentation and minimal poor acting. Starring actor Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains & Left Behind), Fireproof tackles the hard-hitting issues of a failing marriage. It is not the predictable movie many may assume it is.

Screenwriters and pastors Alex and Stephen Kendrick assembled a cast from their congregation at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga. Each person plays a part in the lives of Caleb (Cameron) and Catherine Holt (Erin Bethea), whose marriage has become pointless. The only communication they have with one another is about the boat Caleb has been saving for and seems to value more than their marriage.

The movie stresses that it is a man’s role to lead, nurture and care for his wife and their marriage. Though it is Caleb who is portrayed as the problematic spouse who needs to rectify the damage he has done within their relationship, Catherine is no innocent victim. In a heated argument over lack of consideration and love, Catherine announces her desire to end their marriage.

As Caleb is challenged by his father (Harris Malcolm) to remain in the marriage for 40 more days and attempt to salvage it through restoring love, Catherine begins cultivating other interests. Dr. Gavin Keller (Perry Revel) begins to pursue Catherine, who has removed her wedding band. Not portrayed as a likeable character in the movie, Dr. Keller is put to shame when Caleb’s passion for his wife and saving his marriage drives him to confront Keller.

Caleb first attempts to carry out the challenge to appease his father, a new believer. However, his father walks him through the frustrations of under appreciation and forces him to see how inconsiderate he has been of both his wife and, ultimately, of Christ. Without the typical get-saved-and-be-happy emotional church scene, the proper elements of truth from Scripture are more prominent in this scene than the emotional highs of most movies.

Excluding an unrealistic encounter with his friend and fellow firefighter in which Caleb says, “I’m in” – in reference to the faith – a believer’s new-found hope and frustrations are clearly portrayed.

From the tears and screams of arguments to the joy of reconciliation to the suspenseful fire emergencies that address commitment conflicts and truths, Fireproof dramatically proclaim Christianity. No religious fanatics, no impractical and idealistic perfect church world – the movie has the pragmatic truths of reconciliation in relationships. Fireproof is a movie that serves as big-screen entertainment and provides a life lesson for those who are married or single, believer or atheist.

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