Fireproof, a “porn version of Christianity”?

This is a followup to my marriage, viewpoint from 6 years post specifically the part about the Fireproof movie. I got a comment back from one person over why he objects to the movie so I thought it would be good to go out around online and find some reviews.

I wrote this post wondering what you my online community think about this movie regardless if you’ve seen it or not.

My thoughts? Here you go for some reviews I found:

The Daily Beast

But in making evangelism—and acceptability to the most insular Christian audiences—a priority, Christianese films all but guarantee artistic failure. Art demands an honesty that the evangelical bubble would find intolerable. Committed to promoting an unambiguous message that God solves all problems, Fireproof never portrays Christians doing anything untoward, or even experiencing any sorrow. Caleb’s parents’ marital struggles pre-dated their Christianity. When Caleb’s best friend reveals that he divorced his first wife, he not only says it was before he found the Lord, but adds that after he did, he would have gotten back together with his ex had she not already remarried. In the perfect world of Fireproof, good Christians do not have bad marriages, any more than they drink, gamble or swear.

Indeed, it’s possible Fireproof is so obsessed with stamping out pornography because it recognizes the competition. Fireproof is a porn version of Christianity—a ludicrously contorted, heavily airbrushed fantasy of the real thing, and ultimately every bit as unsatisfying.

I kind-of agree about “light-infused settings when you pray”, but contorted and heavily-airbrushed fantasy of the real thing? And ultimately unsatisfying? Of course it isn’t going to be the same as real life – it’s media, it’s a movie. With that said, it does play into certain stereotypes that after you become a Christian, life is perfect – which isn’t the case. We do experience “sorrow”, have bad marriages, etc., etc. I personally can vouch for some of those situations in the movie in my marriage both before and after my salvation. But the point I took out of it isn’t that but that if there is something greater than you and your spouse in your view of life, then ultimately you will become disappointed with your spouse and I expect would want to give up. Look they will fail, we will fail. It WILL happen. But what will you do is the question.

New York Times

“Fireproof” may not be the most profound movie ever made, but it does have its commendable elements, including that rarest of creatures on the big (or small) screen: characters with a strong, conservative Christian faith who don’t sound crazy.

Only at the end do the filmmakers get heavy-handed, and they seem not to know when to wrap up, letting the movie run on for several smarmy scenes beyond its natural endpoint. Until then, though, this is a decent attempt to combine faith and storytelling that will certainly register with its target audience.

And maybe with other folks as well: among those caring-for-marriage tips are some that anyone could use to improve any type of relationship, with or without the God part.

I pretty much agree with this review, especially the ending – some of those scenes really play into the stereotype that life is perfect when a significant amount of people that do or do not believe in Jesus Christ or God struggle with in searching for happiness. We are all not shiny happy people. Seriously.

Rama’s Screen Review

What makes this movie great is, hands down,… the story. Yes it could get very preachy at times but can you blame it?! It’s a Christian based movie, for pete’s sake. If you don’t wanna watch it then go watch something else but you sure as hell are missing out.
A great movie for couples and also great lesson for singles. Both the husband and the wife are so caught up in their own separate world of work and other hobby that they forget how to treat one another with the utmost affirmation, respect, and love. It’s not about feeling, it’s about willing to do just about anything for the one we love even when we get rejected over and over again. It’s persistence, knowing that it will pay off in the end. If there’s one chick flick you’re going to see this year, let it be FIREPROOF.

This was the basic concept I had going into the movie and still agree with.

Boundless webzine

But they’re working where there’s a need, engaging essential issues and connecting with audiences at a deeply personal level. Any critic that camps out on the film’s flaws, without appreciating the value of taking on these important themes, will miss the point.

For a generation scarred by divorce, but hopeful they can make their own marriages work, Fireproof provides much needed modeling of what it takes. Many 20-somethings readily admit that without seeing commitment honored in their own homes, they’re not sure what to do differently — especially when things get difficult. If you’re wondering how you can make your marriage (or future marriage) work, seeing Fireproof is a good place to start.

I am a 20-something (but barely at 29) and do readily admit that I have come into my marriage with barely a clue at all. Scarred by divorce is an understatement; the default IS divorce but who shows the alternative? We’ve been in a marriage group for this reason and one reason why I dig Peace in the Home. Yes I know there are books out there, but visually seeing this stuff is a good thing, especially when your wife digs movies over books.

Entertainment Weekly

These are temptations faced by Christian and non-Christian couples alike, but the filmmakers hedge their bets by making the young marrieds agnostic at the start of the movie, in order to turn Fireproof into a manual for eternal as well as marital salvation. (”I’m in!” Cameron announces to a spiritually mentoring firefighter pal.) You probably can’t blame pastors moonlighting as moviemakers for wanting to pack their film with multiple messages, but the conversion subplot feels shoehorned into the more crucial marital doings, as if coming to Jesus might be just one of a long checklist of steps to restore sizzle to your marriage, right between buying roses and preparing a candlelit dinner.

I see what they mean about feeling shoehorned and I really don’t like that people can easily see salvation as a “checkbox” on a list for fixing your marriage (especially since I’m a guy and all about lists) like this. It HAS to be about the relationship and not the things you do, but this is one of those concepts I really struggle in illustrating much less explaining…

Cinema Blend

Fireproof is better than its devout, intrusive, overly-religious plot might first indicate. Kirk Cameron comes off as a realistic and grounded firefighter. His wife has more depth and more of a storyline than your average throwaway female character, and the cinematography is on par with the majority of Hollywood dramas. There’s even a pleasant little recurring gag with Caleb’s neighbors, but by and large, Fireproof fails because of its own obtrusive agenda. What Michael Moore is to leftist chicanery, this film is to conservative cockamamie. And, sadly, it doesn’t even care how awkward it comes off or how much it must manipulate its own plot to achieve its eternal salvation.

I suspect most people who will see this movie also already have their afterlife planned out. Regrettably for them, Fireproof is unlikely to convert many heathens. As much as it tries to make Christianity look like the bees’ knees, I’m confident in saying the majority of atheists won’t rethink their lives after seeing Kirk Cameron take a baseball bat to his filthy, porn-loving computer. Then again, before 1990, I wouldn’t have predicted Mike Seaver would spend his life jerking off to an invisible superhero. I guess not everything is Fireproof.

The reviewer really came across as having a bone to pick here (especially when I looked further at the reviewer) – but you’ll have to read the entire thing. It seemed to me that he really didn’t see any value whatsoever to this topic, and just totally missed the point.

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3 responses to “Fireproof, a “porn version of Christianity”?

  1. On the surface I can see the complaint. Becoming a Christian isn’t a magic cure for eveything but I don’t think that’s what we see in this film. Caleb makes a lot of sacrifices to win back his wife (he doesn’t get the boat and the girl) and he is on day 43 and still going before he gets her back. A good marriage is a lot of work and that’s not hidden. Will it bring the heathens in, probably not in masses but that’s OK too.

    Check my blog for my review…
    http://ke4juh.wordpress.com
    God bless,
    -jim

  2. Interesting Read! Very detailed blog,thanks for sharing

  3. After reading through this article, I just feel that I really need more info. Could you share some more resources ?

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