EDITORS’ NOTE: This story is part of a series of Baptist Press stories about Fireproof, which hits theaters Sept. 26. To read how churches can get involved click here. To read an overview about the movie click here. To read another review of the movie click here. A story about Kirk Cameron’s involvement is available here. Stories about movie volunteers are available here and here. Finally, a story about the director and producer is available here.
ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–The current condition of marriage in America is, at best, shaky. Divorce and dysfunction seem to have replaced commitment and harmony as the new norm. And while many churches seek to shore up the struggling state of matrimony with education and information, one particular church is trying a more creative approach.
Sherwood Baptist Church of Albany, Ga., is hoping a movie will, at the very least, provide hope that many struggling marriages can be strengthened.
“Fireproof,” is the third movie from Sherwood Pictures, a ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church. “Facing the Giants,” is the most well-known of the previous Sherwood releases. A fun, family flick that did not shy away from matters of faith, Giants was well-received by movie goers.
Set to open in theaters Sept. 26, “Fireproof” tells the story of a struggling marriage and addresses the issue of modern-day relationships head-on. The messages conveyed are clear: Marriage is anything but easy, relationships require patience, and there is hope for struggling marriages.
One unique aspect of Sherwood Pictures production standards, which sets it apart from the rest of the film-making world, is it only uses Christian actors and actresses in its movies. In fact, most of the cast are members of Sherwood Baptist Church.
One “Fireproof” cast member who is not a member of Sherwood is Kirk Cameron. Best known for his role as Mike Seaver in the 1980s television hit “Growing Pains,” Cameron is a committed and outspoken follower of Christ.
Cameron not only delivers a strong performance as the male lead in “Fireproof,” but his presence on the set seemed to have raised the bar for everyone else. I have to be honest: While I found the storyline in “Facing the Giants” entertaining, some of the acting was not up to Hollywood standards. This is not the case in “Fireproof.” With one small exception, all the acting in “Fireproof” is more than adequate.
While “Facing the Giants” was a movie for the whole family, “Fireproof” is not. It is an intense film that deals with mature themes. It is probably appropriate for older teens, but I would not recommend it for younger children.
One of the issues that “Fireproof” touches on is pornography, a subject not easily addressed. However, the film deals with the destructive nature of porn in a manner that is both tactful and appropriate. In fact, I can’t recall when I have seen the issue dealt with so adequately. (The viewer sees no pornographic images and hears the word “porn” only once.)
Another aspect of “Fireproof” I appreciate is that it is rooted in reality. The story line is possible, the relationships resonate with reality and the plot twists are plausible.
“Fireproof” is a perfect illustration that marriages do not get into trouble overnight. Little by little, relationships erode until they are at the point of breaking apart. Only a lot of hard work, patience, prayer and unconditional love can save a marriage on the brink of falling apart.
But at least one question remains to be answered: Can a movie really make a difference on the sagging state of marriage? While I don’t know the answer to that question, I do know that it certainly can’t hurt.
“Movies can and do have tremendous influence in shaping young lives in the realm of entertainment towards the ideals and objectives of normal adulthood,” said Walt Disney. If the family entertainment legend’s observation is accurate, “Fireproof” has the opportunity to portray a realistic and hopeful view of marriage to cinema goers — both young and old.
If nothing else, “Fireproof” might provide a spark of hope for someone in a struggling marriage that with the Lord all things are indeed possible. Whatever the condition of your marriage, you need to see “Fireproof.” And you need to encourage others to see it, too.
Kelly Boggs, whose column appears each week in Baptist Press, is editor of the Baptist Message, the newspaper of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, which is online at baptistmessage.com. For more information about “Fireproof,” visit FireproofTheMovie.com. For resources, visit FireproofMyMarriage.com.