Monday, June 28, 2010

Fireproof movie has good message, but poor delivery

Fireproof is a movie starring Kirk Cameron (who plays Caleb) and Erin Bathea (who plays his wife Catherine) about a couple who encounter discord in their marriage relatively early on and are headed for divorce. Caleb visits his dad to tell him the situation. The father then gives Kirk a book with 40 days worth of activities in it which will save his marriage.

Although this is a Christian film, religious overtones do not come into play until well past the first half of the film. Caleb starts out as a non-religious person who is sceptical about religion. His father though has become quite devout.

The movie offers a great message and practical advice to improve any marriage, even those which seem destined to end. I believe if these techniques were employed, marriages would be saved. This movie is somewhat more realistic than a lot of what Hollywood has to offer. It showcases real people with real problems and good advice.

My main issue with the movie is how deliberate it seems. There is no guesswork or subtlety. If the producer wants you to know something, the character will come out and explicitly say it. Therefore, it's a little too straightforward. Also, some of the scenes could be much tighter. For example, Caleb might receive some bad news, and we will watch him react for several minutes. This could have been cut and his state of mind could be implied.

On top of that, many of the characters seem a little too perfect. Caleb's dad, for example, always knows exactly the right words to say. It's as though he has had time to prepare an answer. When Caleb calls him, his dad always seems to be waiting right next to the phone with no distractions, as if psychic. These "perfect" characters take away some of the realism.

This movie was a runaway success at the box office. Produced with only $500,000, the movie made over $33 million in theatres. This is quite a return on investment.

If you're looking for a movie that has a good message but is not infiltrated by Hollywood cynicism, this is a great one. Some of the themes would probably seem foreign to younger children, but by late teens, this movie would be valuable to watch.

I give this movie 3.9 stars out of 5.

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