In my opinion, this movie was both cheesy and profoundly helpful.
The whole time I was thinking, "There's no way I'm really enjoying this right now. Sub-par acting, cheap (i.e. no) special effects, predictable storyline..."
But this story has to resonate with anyone who's been married. I'm sure there's something for all of us in the characters, and it epitomizes what's happening in the typical American family. A couple replaces their love for each other with a large mortgage payment, two incomes to pay for that mortgage, devotion to pleasure, addiction to entertainment and lust for more and bigger stuff. The net effect is to shrink the soul, leading to misery, brokenness and two individuals who happen to share the same house. (Great quote from the 16th century Henry Scougal, "The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love.")
Going into it I didn't expect it to be so blatantly evangelistic. Although some of the dialogue seemed forced, it's very difficult to make conversations about the gospel feel natural. It was accurate to real life. Many conversations I've had about the gospel feel labored, like a real war is going on as I speak. I think that's the nature of conversations about Jesus. He is a dangerous man who wants to wreck the idols we've built for ourselves.
I have to admit that I did cry a couple times. Redemption stories have a way of doing that. I did think, "I need to fight for my wife, like Caleb." There are not many movies where you walk away inspired to that end. I'll give a quick plug for "Family Man," a movie that stirred me in a similar way, and "Spitfire Grill," which is a metaphor of the gospel made with Catholic funding. (Watch that movie and see if you can pick out all the characters in the gospel)
Moreover, I was so proud of this church, who made the movie. One of the best parts was watching "the making of Fireproof" at the end. Most of those actors were volunteers from the church. They took no glory for themselves and everyone pulled together. The "Wayne on Wayne" extra was funny. I applaud that church for their vision- a little church is making a big splash.
Some questions I still have:
Can Christians make a movie where sin is accurately portrayed? I can't imagine that an unbelieving firefighter wouldn't be dropping some F bombs and other expletives.
How far can Christian actors/actresses go in their roles as it relates to swearing, kissing, and other depictions of sin?
Will the church step up and use this artistic expression (i.e. movies on the big screen) for God's glory? Or is it even a worthwhile pursuit?