Caleb Holt’s a firefighter
Choosing work and overnighters
Over Catherine, his own wife,
Who seems to him a cross backbiter.
Quick to nag him and berate,
She seems to not appreciate
That every day he risks his life.
He’s sick of having still to fight her.
She in turn believes him rude,
Quick to scorn her and exclude.
Plus, he has a porn addiction
And a surly attitude.
Every time they both are present,
Both can’t help but be unpleasant.
Marriage offers naught but friction
And a never-ending feud.
Both agree that their best course
Would be to file for divorce,
But Caleb’s father tells his son
To wait, or there will be remorse.
He hawks a forty-day affair,
The marriage-salvaging Love Dare.
He says to follow it till done,
And it may be a changing force.
Caleb does it, day by day,
Resisting nasty things to say,
Buying flowers, doing chores,
And hating it in every way.
His sudden change may be too late.
Again, she can’t appreciate
His “loving” work, which she ignores,
Assuming it’s a greedy play.
Caleb’s soon prepared to quit,
Not seeing any point to it.
He’s simply going through the motions,
Which his dad helps him admit.
His father’s counsel brings him toward
A closer friendship with the Lord,
Which changes Caleb’s selfish notions,
Helping him to now commit.
Still fighting every risky blaze,
He tries for real for several days.
He kicks his nightly porn obsession,
Proving this is not a phase.
He tells off Catherine’s friend at work,
A suitor and potential jerk.
As kindness comes in quick succession,
Catherine’s floored by Caleb’s ways.
When she learns he paid a price
To offer her a sacrifice,
She chooses not to push divorce.
Instead, she hugs and seeks advice.
They both affirm fidelity,
Renewing vows for all to see.
They’ve learned that God is love’s true source,
Who helped them fall in love now twice.

I said at the beginning of this blog that, despite my faith, my list would not be full of usual Christian fare, and Fireproof is the first film so far that could be considered a strictly Christian movie, though A Walk to Remember featured a young girl unashamed of her faith who helped bring a troubled lad closer to God. Still, while that film was more romance with some language to spice it up for secular audiences, Fireproof is a movie made by Christians for Christians, with a soundtrack of current Christian songs and a clear evangelistic message. Those who cannot stand such films may not enjoy Fireproof, but it remains one of the best independent Christian films to date, with some powerful themes and lessons that even non-Christians should be able to appreciate.

I’ll be honest: the acting is not the best. The everyday interactions with people, particularly on the part of Erin Bethea as Catherine Holt, just seem stilted, like they’re all reading a script. On the other hand, the moments between Catherine and Caleb (played by Christian all-star Kirk Cameron) are the most compelling scenes, whether for good or bad. Their arguments sound like real marital strife with both at fault to some extent, and their reconciliation is believably slow to develop, with the final scenes admittedly touching (my parents couldn’t help but tear up). The best character development involves Caleb’s true change, from trashing his porn habit by massacring his computer (I hope there weren’t any important files on there) to admitting he’s on day 43 of his 40-day challenge.

One thing that makes Fireproof impressive is the intense firefighter scenes, including a train barreling toward a crushed car and a close shave in a burning house. The production values are quite high, considering this film was made predominately by volunteers of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. Because it is church-sponsored, it has the typical evangelical message that some don’t like, but it’s handled pretty well and doesn’t take up a lot of screen time. Also, considering how many marriages fail each year, the film offers some important messages: a relationship with Jesus can help other relationships too, never leave your partner behind, pornography is destructive, and love is not about feeling but commitment. Thus, even if people out there are wary of overtly Christian films, Fireproof is well-worth seeing.

Best line: (Caleb) “Marriage isn’t fireproof.” (Caleb’s friend Michael) “Fireproof doesn’t mean the fire will never come. It means when the fire comes that you will be able to withstand it.”

Artistry: 4
Characters/Actors: 4
Entertainment: 5
Visual Effects: 5
Originality: 7
Watchability: 5
Other (moral value): +3
TOTAL: 33 out of 60

Next: #281: We Are Marshall

© 2014 S. G. Liput