Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Fireproof: Interesting Movie with Christian Themes

Based on a recommendation from a friend, my wife rented the movie Fireproof, which deals with a strained marriage in which a troubled, temperamental fireman learns to sacrifice his pride (and his porn) to save his marriage, allowing God to transform him and ultimately his wife. The movie has its weaknesses and corny moments, but actually provides some excellent thought-provoking material and is highly uplifting. Could even save a few marriages. Unlike the vast majority of popular movies these days, it's one that is likely to make your life better.

I didn't realize it was a "church" movie until well into the film, when I suddenly encountered the cinematic shocker of a positive character actually talking about God and Christ (unlike the typical Hollywood depiction of Gospel-folk who turn out to be child molesters, pension thieves, and racial bigots). The PG rating ("Protestant Group"?) should have been "R" for "religion" to warn people, especially the easily offended, but I got over that and actually appreciated it.

The major weakness with the movie was the acting, especially in the opening scenes. I'm afraid that the actor playing the fireman probably is a genuine, sincere Christian with too little experience in being a total self-absorbed jerk, and thus struggled to compete with some of the experts in Hollywood. The fight scene with his wife was just way over the top and too canned - it seemed obvious that this wasn't natural for him. Should have had a personality double to handle that. But when it came to overcoming sin and especially to asking his wife for forgiveness, he was perfect - very well done.

11 comments:

damselindisdress said...

Good to know. I've been curious about that movie. Sounds like it's worth a shot.

C.J. Stutz said...

Thanks for the recommendation! Since I started looking for it, I've been discovering that Christian themes hide in the most unlikely places; many books and movies the world sees as (or assumes are) totally secular hide--or, in some cases, proudly display--Christian themes. The Lord of the Rings and about half of Led Zepplin's songs are two favorite examples in our household. Recently, I read Stephen King's novel, "Desperation", and was surprised to discover that it's an overtly Christian story with a clear message about the saving power of faith. Intrigued, I read a few more of his books; it turns out that the monsters and bloodletting he's so famous for are all, ultimately, in service to some very Christian themes. I'd argue that much of his writing (particularly his earlier novels) is LDS compatible, even with the violence.

pops said...

My wife and I both loved the movie. Great message!

Buyog said...

Nice review, I've been thinking about checking this out, thanks.

But one thing: not sure if you were intentionally or only accidentally ironic in your pointing out the main character's lack of experience in acting like a self-absorbed jerk, but it's Kirk Cameron, child star from ABC's old Growing Pains sitcom, in which he certainly played his share of jerky scenes as petulant teenager Mike Seaver.

pops said...

Sorry for the extra post. I wanted to add that the movie is a refreshing change of pace from Hollywood because it also shows that hard work, sacrifice, and humility are prerequisites for achieving success and happiness - they don't just happen for no reason.

Katheryn said...

I've never commented here before, but have really enjoyed reading for a while.

My husband and I really enjoyed the theme and ideas presented in the movie as well.

The one disappointing thing about it for me though is that the wife never apologized for the things that she did wrong. I'm sorry, but setting up a date with another man when you are married just isn't right. I think that the movie would have held even more meaning for me if they had allowed her to realize how she had contributed to the estrangement of the marriage and realize that she needed to change and apologize too.

Papa D said...

Frankly, I didn't like the movie very much - and for much the same reason that Katheryn states as her only objection. It just was too one-sided and "extreme" - if I can use that word in this context and be understood. It was like the feminist critique (with which I agree) of "Beauty and the Beast" - that it seems to be saying that anyone who really loves someone enough to ignore all their flaws and just accept them will be able to fix any bad relationship / marriage.

I really liked the concept of changing one's self before expecting someone else to change, but it just is SO easy to take that to a co-dependent extreme that equates worth with one's ability to change someone else. I was most bothered by the time frame in the movie - the "I will show my 'unconditional love' for this particular amount of time, and if you don't change in MY time frame I'm gone - because you didn't change fast enough for me."

I believe that was not the intent of the makers of the movie, and I think they would say that it really was God who set the time frame, but in the movie itself it was presented as almost an absolute - that setting a time frame (and that particular time frame) is the right thing for any marriage.

I was less bothered by the weak acting, since I didn't expect good acting, and MUCH more bothered by what I perceived to be the troublesome evangelical overtones of much of the "details" of the solution - even as I agreed wholeheartedly with the concept of, "We love him, because he first loved us."

Anonymous said...

The movie was created by Sherwood Baptist Church in Georgia. They've done a few other movies - "Facing the Giants" is my favorite.

Mormanity said...

Papa D., in the "fire making" scene at the end inside the firehouse, his wife acknowledges that she needs to change, too, and wants to go through the changes that her husband has made. This really helps make it less one-sided and recognizes the need for transformation in her life as well.

As for trying something out for a fixed period of time and walking if it doesn't work, the movie doesn't really teach that. While he has undertaken a 40-day program, it's on day 43 when she begins to recognize that he's making real changes. "How long have you been doing this?" "43 days." "I though it's a 40-day plan." "Who says I have to stop?" I liked that. The transforming journey with the Lord isn't limited to our preconceived timetable. It's a lifelong journey.

The movie still rocks.

GiantIguana said...

The movie Flywheel, (as well as Facing the Giants) made by the same group are also excellent.

Atul said...

fireproof is a family drama of a firefighter caption who faces some problem in his 7 year old marriage, I had
watch fireproof movie online
, its a nice movie