Saturday, October 11, 2008

FIREPROOF - a review

One of the first things I read about "Fireproof" was how actor Kirk Cameron will *not* kiss a woman other than his wife, even for work. Since the movie is the story of the disintegration and rescue of a marriage, it seemed a hard thing to do. For the big kissing scene, elaborate work was done to dress his real wife, Chelsea, exactly like the female lead and then shoot from angles so that she would be indistinguishable from the lead actress. (I can say it worked very well). His reason, "I have a commitment not to kiss any other woman." Simple...a man who keeps his commitments. I find that very honorable, indeed. This movie was also very important to him - here is what he says, The reason this movie was important to me personally is because I love my wife dearly,” he said. “We’ve been married for 17 years … and we have six children. So marriage is a very special and sacred thing to us. In a day and age where marriage is falling apart, we want to make movies and projects that really uphold and have a high view of that which is beautiful and wonderful in our culture.”

What is the movie about? In the words of one of the writers: "It doesn't mean when something is fireproof that fire will never come, but when fire comes, it can withstand it," Alex Kendrick said. "Every marriage will go through trials, or fire, as we say, and what's going to happen on the other side of that fire? Will your marriage survive?"

The movie is about a firefighter, Caleb Holt, who is a hero at work, but doesn't feel respected at home. At work, he lives by the motto,"Never leave your partner behind" but at home, it's a different story - after 7 years of marriage husband and wife have lost track and live separate lives.

I was intrigued and had already heard from a couple of people - our male friends, no less - who said it was a great movie. AND THEN, CNN had an article about the movie "The Surprise Film Hit of the Fall." In fact, the article is still in CNN's ten most popular stories list, staying between 4 and 6. The movie was made with a teensy budget of $500,000 and yet grossed $13.6 million last weekend. I suspect much more this weekend, it was packed even at the late show we went to.

Here's a shocker: The cast and crew worked mostly for free. Most were church volunteers. Kirk Cameron worked for free, too.

We went to see it last night, to the 9:45pm show because we had to pick our daughter and her friend up from a football game first. That's late for us. We like to be in bed by 10pm. It was also not playing at the closest movie theater which many times makes us say, "We'll wait for video." We did have coupons from an entertainment book, so knowing we weren't paying a fortune to get in sweetened it.

There were tons of people coming out of the movie talking about how great it was. You could overhear conversations from every side...and this was a 18 movie multi-plex, so one would expect to be hearing comments mostly about the 17 other movies, mainstream Hollywood films. Not so. When we got into our theater, we were also surprised that it began to fill up and there were many young couples coming to see it, which was nice.

During the first 5 to 10 minutes, the acting worried me. I didn't think the female lead (Erin Bethea) was going to be able to carry it. Fortunately, she warmed up to the role and I won't even take a star away. Realizing that she was a church volunteer, not a seasoned actress, I then really respected the job she did. Her other acting experience? "Facing the Giants" another stand-out production by Sherwood Pictures that made Hollywood sit up and take notice.

I cannot recommend this picture more. My husband and I both were crying - and you could hear the sniffles from others all over the audience (just like when we saw The Notebook in theaters a few years ago). In fact, if you liked the Notebook, you will *love* this movie.

One of the premises of the story is that while this firefighter is putting out fires all over the city, his own marriage is going up in flames. His father asks him if he really wants to give up and he is unsure. His father then gives him a 40-day "love dare" and sends him a book with a special instruction for each of 40 days. This book didn't exist until the movie was in production, it was fictional...but during the production the writers realized how important it was for such a book to exist and prayed to God for helping writing it. It is now on's best seller's list.

To find out about resources related to this movie, go to:

Purely trivial: Pat and I were commenting how now that Kirk Cameron has aged (he turns 38 tomorrow), he looks surprisingly like a young Mel Gibson. In many of the shots, he was caught from angles where it was like, "Whoa! That's Mel in Braveheart! Yikes! Mel in Bird on a Wire!"


Noele Doles said...

Looks like a good movie!

Patrick Roberts said...

I just got back from watching Fireproof... it was great to see such a different-flavored movie on the regular, big screen