Monday, October 13, 2008
FIREPROOF - A Lesson For Us All
So my wife and I went, on the word of her mother, to Fireproof yesterday. Now she'd gone on about how amazing a film it was and how any married couple would be doing themselves a disservice by not seeing it. Well, I have to admit I was skeptical... and I believe that's exactly what the movie wanted: those who don't realize that sometimes it takes a powerfully hidden message to do the most work. So, we went. Even after reading the synopsis, assuring myself that I'd like it even less, and doing a shameful job of trying to talk Amy out of it, we went. This is the story of why I'm so very glad I did.
Kirk Cameron plays Caleb Holt. More or less your basic every-man doing his day-to-day routine of working long hours as a fire fighter, finding a bit too much comfort in his job life as opposed to home, and generally missing out on what little bit of a marriage he's awkwardly clinging to. Erin Bethea is Catherine Holt, Caleb's lovelorn wife who has done her very best to put up with her fading husband's verbal tirades, passionless daily encounters, and devastating pornography addiction. Not to put too fine a point on it, but divorce is looming on the horizon.
Caleb has seen and heard all he can take: Catherine shows him no respect, gripes constantly about everything, finds the most irrational problematic issues in every situation, and cares little for the material items Caleb finds most desirable (a boat he's saving for, and, well, his porn addiction). He's sure their rapidly depleting marriage is doomed. On the coin's flipside is Catherine's laundry list of garbage she's had to put up with from Caleb, up to and including her feelings of inadequacy from his PORN ADDICTION (that's a big piece of this shattered puzzle, by the way). Soon, a separation is agreed upon.
Caleb's dad, Harris Malcolm as John Holt, soon reminds Caleb that he, too, went through the exact same situation with his wife and begs his son to try one last ditch effort in order to rebuild the wreckage of their failed lives together if Caleb believes in any remaining glimmer of hope. Caleb, reluctantly and as religiously renouncing as possible, agrees to the challenge. Soon, arriving by mail, comes a book called the Love Dare; a 40 day test to completely step outside the normal, rutted life Caleb has made for himself and reestablish the original love and feelings he had for his wife from the beginning. Each page is a new day, and each day is a new set of ideas that most people, after a certain time of stagnant marriage, completely forget ought to be simple, basic, everyday things. It teaches Caleb how to see his wife, and his love for her in a completely different way. It teaches Caleb, through God can one truly find love. It teaches Caleb that his life is far too full of sin and Godless misgivings (Porn. Yeah, that's a big one for him) to show his wife, in the sanctity of marriage, true love and caring. But for Caleb, this all comes at a new price he'd never realized before: before all else he must find and love the Lord.
Meanwhile, Catherine has merely given up. She's begun to fall for a doctor at the hospital she works for, and has taken to spending quite a bit of her free time with him much to the cackling, grapevine-speaking delight of the resident nurses, but much to the chagrin of an old friend who sees the real trouble. Catherine has become wary of Caleb's attempts to reconnect with her and has looked at each day of half-hearted charades as too little too late. In fact, before she even realized what Caleb is up to, makes the assumption that his full self isn't into whatever it is he's trying to do.
Caleb reaches the half-way point in the 40 day trial with the utter shock of signed divorce papers. He is lost. After he has done everything the book has told him to do, nothing seemed to make a bit of difference. Well, Caleb's dad knows exactly why and pays a visit to his son. The 20th day was the point where a new choice had to be made. It wasn't enough to just pay lip-service to the book's writings and just squeak by with the basic ideas, no, Caleb has to put his heart and soul into the words and, by doing so, offer himself to God, beg for forgiveness, and change his life before anything else can be effective. If this sounds particularly and suspiciously close to how one needs to handle the word of God in the bible, that's because as metaphors go, this is the most powerful I've ever seen. Or felt.
Caleb, through the assistance of his father, finds God and does the work through him. Caleb makes drastic and complete changes, up to and including taking a bat to his 'crutch', the computer. It's obvious Catherine sees this, but blazing a new trail through damaged territory is never, ever easy. Well, I'm not going to spoil the rest, and by not doing so I highly suggest you see this movie if for no other reason than to learn a few things for yourself. If you're married, it should be a no-brainer. Grab your spouse and go on a date. I realized a few things... well, a lot, actually, that need to change in my life as well. Not the least of which is a newer, stronger foundation with God. Not wanting to be any more preachy than I've been, see this movie. You'll thank me for it.