I watched Fireproof last week and I must say I was quite disappointed. I expected a lot from this film as it was highly recommended by many people in the Christian circle. Even my own sister wanted to buy them to give away as gifts. I can see why. While society is changing and constantly challenging the traditional meaning of marriage and Hollywood keeps churning out movies that undermine the sacredness of marriage, Fireproof seeks to drive in the message that some things are worth protecting and fighting for. One does not walk away when things do not work out. Or as Cameron’s character puts it, “we do not leave our partner in a fire”. At least not until we have done what we can to change things (in the form of a 40-day challenge), even though they seem meaningless and hopeless at first. Therein lies another point the movie seeks to make, that love is more an action than a romantic feeling. When we choose to love, we do “loving things” that show we respect and value our partner regardless of how we feel or how they respond. Our feelings will eventually follow even tough it may take 40 days in the case of this story before it begins to stir our partner’s heart. It might backfire yes and in the process we might feel humiliated, rejected and spat upon BUT as with most things worth fighting for, it gets worse before it gets better. If we will stick with it we will have a marriage that is better than when it first started. In the story, the underlying force that kept Cameron’s character going was his eventual faith in God. He was as agnostic as any average American these days but through his father’s persevering faith in God and in him, he eventually came to Christ and found a new motivation to continue the challenge to save his marriage. He saw how God’s unconditional love for his people is a model for how our own love should be in a marriage. After all we are not called the bride of Christ for nothing.

That is basically the gist of it. It has a great moral story and an important message but everything else was lacking. The acting and casting was poor. It was overly preachy, especially for the unconverted. They need to spend more time to set the context and build the characters. It almost felt like the script was written in bullet-points! Finally, the script was too predictable. I found myself finishing off some of the lines, especially the ones from Cameron’s father. It lacks originality and creativity. Even the jokes seem out of place. It has the feel of an afternoon matinee more than a made for theaters movie. It is unfortunate because it does carry a different message in a society that is loosing hope in the concept of marriage.

For all it’s failings I must say it did make me reflect on my own marriage although the concept in the 40-day challenge is not new to me.