Fireproof

  • Review Date: September 29, 2008
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2008

Common Sense Media says

Christian-themed marriage drama won't grab kids.
  • Review Date: September 29, 2008
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2008

Age(i)

2
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5
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7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Caleb -- who's a courageous lifesaver in his day job but not very humble about it -- rises above his personal flaws to be a better person, even it it's too late for his marriage. Some diversity among characters.

Violence

An offscreen car wreck yields maimed victims; perils of an impending train crash. A firefighter rescues an unconscious child from a raging inferno, getting singed in the process.

Sex

Caleb surfs the Web for online pornography (never shown), and some dialogue hints that his wife isn't very responsive in the bedroom.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

A tie-in Love Dare book exists; the movie can't help but feel a bit like a promo for it.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In one scene, firemen drink hot sauce to test their machismo. In real life, a stunt like that recently killed a man.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that a powerful grassroots marketing campaign has helped turn this Christian-themed indie drama about a fireman with a troubled marriage into a hit. While the content is age-appropriate for older tweens and up, the marriage-centric story isn't likely to interest them. The plot includes mention of online porn (it's frowned on, of course), but viewers don't really see anything salacious. Marriage is portrayed as tough and often devoid of love, affection, or respect, but something that Christians are expected to endure anyway. Non-Christian viewers might be uncomfortable with some of the movie's dialogue and themes; on the flipside, at least it skips some of the raw language and sex in other Hollywood firefighting movies (like Backdraft).

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Caleb (Kirk Cameron) is the heroic chief of a Georgia firehouse. But at home, in a failing two-career marriage, he feels like he's in the doghouse. His wife, hospital administrator Catherine (Erin Bethea), doesn't show him much affection or respect; in fact, she's secretly attracted to a doctor at work, while Caleb's been caught more than once looking at online pornography. Proud and hot-tempered, Caleb isn't religious, but his father is, so he mails his son a handmade "love dare" book -- a 40-day plan, with Bible quotes in the margins, to do nice things for Catherine no matter how much she pushes him away.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

What's not to like about a pro-marriage drama? Well, despite FIREPROOF's core positive message, the acting is fairly weak, the production values are rough around the edges, and even though much of it takes place in a firehouse, there's more talking than rescue action. And some non-religious viewers might be put off by the film's evangelical Christian roots. It's not enough for Caleb to give up his dirty Web surfing and learn to shop, sweep, and do the dishes; in order to earn Catherine's devotion, he must be born again, and the script doesn't make things very easy for him -- the burden is on him to turn the other cheek as Catherine spurns him again and again, with nobody calling her on her own questionable behavior.

All of that said, the film (which was made by the same pastors/filmmakers behind Facing the Giants) earns realism points for frankly acknowledging that marriage can be difficult and even bleak at times. And nobody here is perfect; even characters who mentor Caleb admit to grievous past sins.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the film's messages about marriage. Talk about the concept of "unconditional love" -- what exactly does that mean? How do different groups (religious or otherwise) feel about divorce? Do you have to be a Christian to understand or appreciate what this movie is saying about marriage and life in general?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 26, 2008
DVD release date:January 27, 2009
Cast:Erin Bethea, Ken Bevel, Kirk Cameron
Director:Alex Kendrick
Studio:Samuel Goldwyn Company
Genre:Drama
Run time:121 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:thematic material and some peril.

This review of Fireproof was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byKaty0 September 15, 2009
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Decent

I found some of the main characters to be rather unlikeable and the acting to be a bit stiff, but it's not terrible.

Teen, 15 years old Written byJoey123 July 30, 2009
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Best yet!!!!

I LOVE this movie. It is so great. The only reason I would rate this twelve and up is the subject matter. There is no sexual content, and no language. Such a great film.

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byaidanqm1996 August 23, 2009
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

"Never Leave Your Spouse"

This movie has a great message. Younger children might not like this movie, but I love it. There's emotion, a little adventure, and the word of God.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages

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