I recently watched the movie Fireproof. I didn’t see it when it first came out for a couple of different reasons. One is that the previous movie by these same people was boringly predictable with bad acting. I had no desire to see another movie by them. The second is that it was so hyped by so many people and churches who had not even seen it yet! But I finally gave in and rented it the other night. It was somewhat of a step up from the other movie. Although this one too was predictable, the acting was somewhat better. It did have scenes that made little sense other than they were trying to fill up some time and add a little lightheartedness to the serious parts.
My biggest concern with this movie is that many Christians who watch it and recommend it will think that the methods used in the movie will save any marriage. I think the methods are good and will work. But I don’t think they will work for everyone. I think they will work for two groups of people: those who have good marriages and want to make them better, and those who have minor problems. The methods will not work for those with major problems, including abusive marriages.
Another concern was that the male protagonist obviously had a problem with rage, yet it was never addressed. Early on in the movie, when he was yelling at his wife and was up in her face, I thought for sure he was about to hit her. Of course, being a Christian movie, he didn’t. At other times, he took out his rage on the trash can, either by kicking it or hitting it with a baseball bat, or on his computer when he threw it away, also by hitting it with a baseball bat. Throwing away and destroying his computer was his way of combating his problem with Internet pornography. A bit extreme, but apparently it solved his problem just like that. These rage issues were never addressed. After the man becomes a Christian, the only issue dealt with is the pornography and him really wanting to woo his wife, instead of just wooing her because his dad recommended it.
It concerns me that churches are promoting this movie as a way of helping people fix their marriages and expressing the idea that they are fixable, because some, especially any that contain domestic violence, are not always fixable. Can you imagine being the person in a violent “Christian” marriage, knowing there is no hope left, but having your church put forth the impression that it is saveable, if you just follow these steps for 40 days?
Although the movie is supposed to be inspirational and helpful, I think it can do harm to people in those types of marriages. People who might not be believed when they say they are in a violent relationship, because their spouse is the “perfect Christian”.
I’d like to see a Christian movie that deals better with reality and doesn’t think that the solution to everything is someone “accepting Jesus as his/her Savior”.