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REVIEW: If you see one movie this year….

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–I am not a film critic. If it weren’t for our children, Blockbuster would have recalled my membership card years ago for non-usage. In fact, my wife and I hardly ever go to the movie theater.

Yet in the case of the movie “Fireproof,” I will throw caution to the wind and share my opinion.

Fireproof, the Sept. 26 movie release from Samuel Goldwyn Films and Provident Films, may not have a star-studded cast, but it has a sterling plot. Well-known actor Kirk Cameron stars in the film as a fireman who risks life and limb to rescue strangers but who finds himself increasingly distanced from his wife. The movie’s plot mirrors real life where, among many segments of the population, news that a friend is getting a divorce is regarded as not really news at all — just another stage of life.

In some way or another, I believe every married person who views this movie will see a little part of themselves on the big screen — something they’ve done, said or thought in the course of their marriage. And every single person contemplating holy matrimony will be well-served by viewing the film.

Many movies keep you at arm’s length, either by your choice or the director’s design. With Fireproof, it’s as if you are one of the cast. In fact, by the end of the film you’ll be reaching up to see if your eyebrows are singed and then dabbing your moist eyes with your sleeve.

Yet as powerful and exciting as this movie is, and it is, the more amazing story is the story of Sherwood Baptist Church. The church is not in Atlanta, Orlando or even Dallas-Fort Worth, but Albany, Ga. Population 164,000.

Reportedly there were only eight professionals on the set of this movie. But you could say there were 1,200 extras, because that’s how many church members volunteered to make this movie a success.

It’s not business as usual for Sherwood Baptist; they’re not content to play church. This is the kind of church that Jesus was speaking of when He said the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).

This will be a life-changing movie for many who see it. While it may not garner a mention at the Academy Awards, suffice it to say that’s not why the folks at Sherwood Baptist produced the film.

It’s clear this movie was made to restore and save marriages by looking to scriptural truths, not to make money. (Although, the success of this movie will certainly open the door for the resources to fund more films in the future.)

And with an apology to those who normally produce “Christian” movies, this isn’t your typical movie by a bunch of well-meaning Christians. This film certainly glorifies Christ and it isn’t short on God-centric moments, but the acting and the production is top-shelf.

Many movies spin off useless trinkets and products. Yet a small book, used as a “plot device” in Fireroof, is more than a promotional gimmick for the movie.

“The Love Dare,” from B&H Publishing Group, has much more than a cameo role in the film. Developed for the movie and written by the movie’s co-writers, brothers Stephen and Alex Kendrick, this 40-day challenge to develop authentic love in marriage (the kind that honors God, not the kind of “love” depicted in most other films) already is in its sixth printing. The book, currently 28th in book sales on amazon.com, is the tool God uses to minister to Caleb and Catherine Holt in the film.

More than 5,000 people were introduced to Jesus Christ through Sherwood Baptist’s last film, Facing the Giants — at least that’s the approximate number of e-mails the church received in which individuals attested to such a monumental change in their lives. I can’t imagine the number of people and marriages that will be changed for the better by this film. And it’s not the movie that will be doing the changing; it’s the Spirit of God that permeates this production.

As it is sometimes said, if you can only see one movie this year, see this movie. Your marriage may depend upon it.

Don’t wait for Fireproof to come out on DVD. Go to fandango.com (or take your chances at the box office) right now and buy your tickets. I promise you that you and your spouse will be very glad you did.
Dwayne Hastings is a vice president with the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

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