Sunday, March 01, 2009

Movie Review: Fireproof

I just finished seeing Fireproof.

Acting: subpar

dialogue: cheesy

Preachy? Definitely

However, I liked it, you know? I actually got emotional during the scene at the end between Caleb and his mother. The movie really gave me something to dwell upon as I enter my own marriage. I saw glimpses of my own selfishness in Caleb. For example, I nitpick in my head over small habits my roommates have, but I myself do the same things.

The movie really sobered me up by showing me where that sort of selfishness could end.

Though it was overly preachy and the acting was terrible (besides Cameron, most of the actors were church volunteers, not professional thespians. This is helpful to know up front.), there were a few powerful gospel scenes. The biggest one, perhaps, was when Caleb kept pushing away discussion of God, then went on to vigorously complain about his wife constantly rejecting him no matter what he does for her. While he reaches out (or so he thinks...he's just going through the motions, really) to her, she "spits in his face." The parallel between that and his relationship to God becomes quite apparent soon after.

It was good to see a movie promoting marriage values, there were some very funny moments, and it was deep in places. It really made me stop and consider my ways. Hey, being "provoked to godliness" by a film is never a bad thing.

Michael Brown has a helpful review here. Particularly helpful were the following two "con" points about the film:

  • Presents Christianity as the solution to a bad marriage.The reality is that there are plenty of unbelievers who are happily married (relatively speaking). This is because marriage is a creational, pre-Fall institution that belongs to the realm of common grace, not redemption. Marriage (that is, a lifelong, monogomous covenant between one man and one woman) is for all people, not merely Christians. Chances are there is an unbelieving married couple on your street who have a pretty good marriage, due to their relationship being marked with mutual service, love and devotion. Conversely, there are plenty of Christian marriages that look like the one depicted at the beginning of the movie (i.e. characterized by selfishness, unforgiveness, anger, and bitterness), due to the Christian couple refusing to get over themselves and grow up. So, this is very misleading. And unbelievers are not so stupid that they can't pick up on this. Just read the reviews of this film.

  • Presents a theology of glory. More of the above. Unfortunately, the message preached (and I mean preached) in this movie inevitably comes across to say, "Become a Christian and the circumstances of your life will improve." Well, that is a) not true and b) not a valid reason for becoming a Christian. Read 1 Corinthians 15. The only valid reason for becoming a Christian is that the message of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ is TRUE, not that it offers the spiritual magic to have your best life right now.

Candace Watters at Boundless provides another review that balances out Michael's review here.

I'm easy to please, and perhaps that's why I liked it. It's good to see strong Christians in the film-making business, and I hope we can keep that up while improving the quality of our films at the same time.


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