The movie stars Kirk Cameron as Caleb Holt, a fire captain with marriage problems. His wife, Catherine, played by Erin Bethea (from Facing the Giants), is ready to leave him because, let's face it, he's a jerk. Before he actually goes to his lawyer, however, his father asks him to take a 40-day challenge called a "love dare." Well, that's the story. You can figure out the outcome without my help.
The film is not quiet about its intent. In the middle of his 40-day excursion that is not working, he tells his father that it's a complete loss. His father asks, "Are you reading everything every day?" Well, of course Caleb is not. There is a Bible verse at the end of each page, and he's not interested in religion. He's just trying to save his marriage. His father uses his marital situation to illustrated his situation with God ("How can she expect us to have a relationship when she won't give me the respect I deserve?"). And Caleb is forced to see his heart problem before God rather than his marriage problem with his wife. The movie is overtly about Christianity, no doubt.
The message is also about marriage. One of the first things Captain Holt tells one of his new guys is "You never leave your partner behind" after a fire. That becomes the theme. Caleb learns that, while defending himself, he has ignored his failings that he is forced to face and deal with.
Kirk Cameron does a good job in the film. I'm afraid he was the only one I saw as a person in the movie. The rest were ... actors. And, well, I guess that's okay. For most of the cast, this was their very first movie. So there is some wooden dialog and some less than perfect acting. But that's okay. The message came across. And I was fascinated by this little bit of trivia:
Kirk Cameron, a fundamentalist Christian evangelist, refuses to kiss any woman other than his wife under any circumstance, so to film a scene in which his character in Fireproof (2008) kisses his wife, the filmmakers had to dress Cameron's real-life wife, Chelsea Noble, as the wife character (played throughout the rest of the movie by Erin Bethea) and shoot the kissing scene in shadow so the difference between Noble and Bethea would not be as evident onscreen.It was a straightforward movie with straightforward messages. 1) You need Jesus. 2) You need to fireproof your marriage. Good. I can't complain.
My only complaint, in truth, is the suggestion that "If you do these steps, you can fireproof your marriage." The idea that was portrayed was that these procedures will always result in saving one's marriage. I feel the need to point out that life doesn't always work that way. Doing the right thing is always the right thing to do. Doing the right thing for the right reasons is even better. Doing the right thing for the right reason that does not include my self-interest is typically the best. This is true even when the outcome isn't the most pleasant.