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Capt. Sage's Review of Fireproof

"Fireproof" is a very well-paced movie which explores the modern ideas about divorce, marriage, and romance, and then explores alternative ideas and demonstrates results in the characters' lives. The movie exhibits a great deal of balance. Neither the male lead nor female lead is perfectly in the right. Moments of sadness are counterbalanced by comic relief. Altogether, it presents an interesting study of two imperfect people and the best way for them to get along.

The main characters are acted and written very well. They feel and act like real people, showing anger and sadness, a need to be loved and a need to be right. An especially good job was done in the pacing of the romantic relationship between the male lead, Caleb, and the female lead, his wife Catherine. There were no cliche leaps of faith in their relationship. The problems they had with respect and trust were developed over an extended period of time and were not easy to solve. The movie portrayed how Caleb and Catherine hurt each other without making either one the villain.

That balance was one of the hallmarks of the film. After an especially intense burst of sadness, the movie would segue into comic relief without the transition feeling jarring. The movie would then be ready to deal out further emotional blows to the characters without losing intensity or believability. The characters themselves were generally kept balanced as well. The characters had an admixture of good and bad motives and actions that kept them realistic.

Pacing in this film was done extremely well. The subjects of marriage and divorce considered in it are serious, and adequate time was given to them. "Fireproof" spent enough time on the problems, and on the work needed to make a solution, to feel realistic. None of the characters' problems was solved in a single day, and the filmmakers resisted the temptation to force a sudden happy ending when the characters' relationships were not yet ready for it. It's one of the few stories in which I really felt that the characters earned their ending, and I had the priviledge of watching them earn it.1

The pacing and balance made this one of the most well-plotted movies I've seen. The characters were complex and three-dimensional, the film expertly choreographed sorrows and levity, and it was all paced and timed so that the conclusion felt right. The well-told story of "Fireproof" speaks movingly of two realistically imperfect people searching for love.


The creators of "Fireproof" would of course insist that the main characters did not earn their resolution, and the film does bear this out, since both Caleb and Catherine were heading towards a divorce before they changed. Nevertheless, they did both make heroic determinations and efforts to arrive at the film's conclusion, which is what I mean by earning that resolution.