In 2006, Alex Kendrick and his brother Stephen, both members of Sherwood Baptist church, wrote and produced Facing the Giants, their second family-friendly independent film. While the production values were on par for a low budget film, viewers were drawn to it’s message of faith and trusting God to do the impossible–both professionally and personally.
Last weekend Alex and Stephen, with the help of a few hundred volunteers from church, returned to the big screen with their third independent film, Fireproof.While Giants tackled winning on the football field, Fireproof addresses those who are struggling to win at their marriage. That concern is something Dr. Dobson has addressed numerous times on our Focus on the Family broadcast. Which explains why I resonate with the heart of this film.
Throughout the picture the theme of never leaving your partner behind serves as a fitting metaphor for marriages that are in crisis. In an interview earlier this year, Alex explained, “The foundation of marriage has been attacked, devalued, and redefined by many in our culture. It is our desire to tell a story that would allow the audience to relate to common marital issues, and then to take them down a path toward understanding principles for unconditional love through the roles of husband and wife . . . we want people to realize that fireproof does not mean the absence of fire, but the ability to withstand it.”
Not surprisingly, Boston Globe correspondent Michael Hardy panned the movie as “melodramatic, made-for-TV shlock.” Still, audiences across the country are filling theaters evidently drawn by the message of hope rather than an arsenal of special effects. On opening night last Friday, Fireproof placed 4th in the top grossing U.S. film releases. By the way, you might get a kick out of knowing that our Plugged In Department director, Bob Waliszewski, has a brief cameo.
If you’re planning on going, keep in mind that while Fireproof, rated PG, is a family-friend film, it’s not for the little ones. The issues of marital discord, divorce, affairs of the heart, rage, and the consequences of addiction to pornography are probably a bit heavy for those under age 13.
Regarding the low budget production values, Stephen Kendrick told us, “When people butcher our films on Rotten Tomatoes and say, ‘This isn’t Oscar-winning material,’ we say, ‘We know!’ We’re just people who are working with what we have at a small church in Georgia.'” I, for one, am glad to see them pursue their dream. I know marriages will be changed by the message of this film. For more details, read our review at PluggedInOnline.com.