Fireproof: Part 8

So, the Big Kiss (with the actress who is not Catherine) is not the end of the movie!  Nope, because just like all good little almost-RTCs, Catherine wants “what happened to you to happen to me.”

Yeah, never mind that Catherine was fine the way she was.  She wants to be like Caleb.

Because Caleb is just that awesome.

So, to a musical montage-y song, Caleb takes Catherine to that old church camp where his own father converted him.  In fact, he tugs at her hand when she hesitates, literally leading her to the cross!


Montage continues: Caleb’s dad is informed of the bad good news, and even calls his wife over so she can vicariously celebrate the marital victory of the son who loathes the sight of her.

Caleb and Catherine head out to church, waving at the awesome older couple.  I still want the movie to be about them.

Finally, Caleb and his dad take yet another walk outside, just two manly men being manly men together.  And John drops the big secret: he didn’t do the Love Dare on Cheryl.


That sounds kinda dirty when I put it that way.

This completely blows Caleb’s tiny mind.  I guess from the RTC perspective, I can see why: a woman took charge of things and tried to institute changes in the household, and we know that’s not how a Good Christian Wife should behave.

Though, honestly, I think the bigger deal here is…honesty.  John’s been making out like he was the one doing the Dare.  He’s been bearing just a bit of false witness, methinks.

But it’s all okay, as John had correctly determined that Caleb would never accept advice from a mere woman.

Caleb:  Dad, I have treated her so wrong.

Gee, no shit, Sherlock.

John:  Caleb, she deserves your respect.


John is just so mild about all this, too.  I tell you, my atheist father would not be nearly so mild blasé about it if I treated my atheist mother with half the scorn and derision with which Caleb treats his.

So Caleb jogs back to the house and hugs his mommy.

Caleb:  Mom, I’m so sorry.  I didn’t know…I didn’t know…

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES KNOWING MAKE???  No matter which one of his parents did the Love Dare, Cheryl has always loved Caleb and been nothing but good to him.  This had nothing to do with Cheryl doing the Love Dare and everything to do with Caleb being a misogynistic prick.


And finally, the real last scene: the “reaffirmation of vows” of the Holts.

Because it’s a covenant marriage now, you see!

Covenant marriages are pretty gross: the only grounds for divorce are physical abuse, adultery, or a felony that results in jail time.  So the kind of emotional abuse that involved Caleb screaming into Catherine’s face, and wagging fingers in her face but never actually smacking her?  Probably not an out for Catherine.  She just needs to forgive him and love him, like the Bible tells her to.

And I’m totally sure that a person desperate to leave his or her marriage would never engage in the forbidden activities (like, say, adultery) as a way to get out.

The one bright spot in all this is that Georgia doesn’t even have covenant marriage laws.  So this is all through the church, and presumably means nothing in a legal sense.  There is nothing about this ceremony that would prevent Catherine getting out if she still wanted to.

Just the pressure from her newfound church, where she is a baby Christian.  And from her smug father-in-law.  And from her abusive husband, who has managed to make it several weeks without yelling at her.

And from the super-glued salt and pepper shakers, now sitting atop the wedding cake.

It’s really just compounding the tragedy: now nobody will be able to properly season their food.


Do all these wedding guests have to get Catherine and Caleb another wedding present?  If so, it’s a pretty good scam: they should renew their vows every year!

Oh yeah.  This marriage has been saved by the love of Jesus.  Fer sure.




Posted on August 28, 2014, in Fireproof, Movies. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. So Caleb jogs back to the house and hugs his mommy.
    Caleb: Mom, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know…I didn’t know…

    Let me get this straight: Previously Caleb despised and scorned his mother. Now he’s suddenly hugging and apologizing. What caused this dramatic shift? Finding out that mom once did something that (by this movie’s standards) is considered “manly” behaviour.

    Huh? Mom is only likable insofar as she’s like a man? Remind me again why these men who only respect things relating to men even want to be married to a woman? (Besides the housekeeping, I guess.)

    And from the super-glued salt and pepper shakers, now sitting atop the wedding cake.

    I sure hope whoever put those shakers on the cake emptied them out first. Because if not, and somebody accidentally knocks them over, that would really ruin the cake.

    Oh, great. The salt and pepper analogy just keeps getting worse. It was a bad comparison to begin with, since salt and pepper have no real interaction, they are near each other solely for convenience. Gluing them together made them useless for their intended purpose. And now putting them on the cake makes them a hollow and empty reminder of the useful things they once were.

  2. Okay, so his wife’s conversion didn’t come through the husband’s (ab)use of his (claimed) position as head of the household, just as convenience. Well, let’s face it, Caleb’s conversion wasn’t any less simple and convenient.
    I really got to wonder why these movies never seen to have such easy, unconvincing portrayals of conversions. Aren’t there enough Born-Againers who can provide a more accurate version, based on their own conversion**? Are they not listened to, because their target audience demands it should be obvious that RTCs are right and so conversions must be quick and easy once the target stops being willfully stuborn? Or are these portrayals actually completely accurate, and have many Born Againers converted due to such flimsy portrayals?

    Yeah, whomever did the Love Dare was completely irrelevant in his treatment of his mother. It’s not like he was happy with doing the Love Dare when he was being such an ass. (I presume that the movie doesn’t explicitly states that Daddy claimed responsibility for the Love Dare because he knew his son wouldn’t listen to anything that came from his mother. But I can’t think of any other reason why he’d do so.)

    By the way, Ruby, any chance we be seeing Kirk Cameron again this Holiday season, with that new Saving Christmas movie of his?

    ** Kirk Cameron himself counts. Way back the Slacktivist had some quotes from coworkers of Kirk during his Growing Pains career. Apparently he became an RTC during his time working there (though I don’t know if he was a “Fake False Christian” before that, or entirely non-religious). And it sounded like a slow, gradual conversion from that quote. Also, it manifested itself as Kirk and Chelsea having less and less to do with their non-fundy coworkers. To the point where they didn’t invite any of them to their wedding. A bit of a contrast with this movie, where the non-religious wife is so amazed with the positive transformation of the new believer that she wants to be a part of it ASAP, isn’t it?

    • (I presume that the movie doesn’t explicitly states that Daddy claimed responsibility for the Love Dare because he knew his son wouldn’t listen to anything that came from his mother. But I can’t think of any other reason why he’d do so.)

      John actually does say this, almost straight up. He doesn’t actually say that Caleb is an ass to his mother or anything, but that the Love Dare would be better coming from John.

      The wuss.

      • Oh my. It is truely disturbing that Caleb’s father knew that his son had no respect for anything that might come from any woman, even someone as close to him as his mother… and yet felt the need to force him to stay close to the one woman he really couldn’t stand. Yeah, that’s just plain enabling abuse. How fortunate that his father was right that it was only Caleb’s filthy heathen mind that made him so mysoginistic. And that adopting a belief system that tells him that all the respect of, the authority over, and the sexual access to, his wife are literally his god-given right would magically fix his anger at not getting enough respect, his wife not following his orders, and his tendency to get easy-access sexual gratification.

        • Oh, and about the Saving Christmas thing–I would LOVE to do it this year. But it all depends on how quickly the movie makes it to the dollar theaters, because I refuse to spend more than that to see it. 😉

          • A fair point. Still, if it’s not feasible this year, I have little doubt you’ll be able to pick up a DVD for under 5 bucks by next year :p

  3. Nope, because just like all good little almost-RTCs, Catherine wants “what happened to you to happen to me.”

    What’s stomach-churningly awful about this is how it clearly shows the focus of this movie: it’s all about Caleb. Catherine isn’t a character. She’s a prize to be won, a machine to be maintained. And her conversion is a reward for Caleb’s conversion.

    The film sets up a lot of unrealistic expectations for how real human beings would react to the Love Dare, but this is probably the farthest one out. It’s one thing to think “I will do X, Y, and Z to save my marriage, and my spousal unit will respond with love and gratitude”, it’s another to think “if I become a Christian and it fixes what’s wrong with my marriage, my now-happy spouse will want to be a Christian too, because… um…. reasons!”

    • Actually, Catherine’s fast-track conversion reminds me of those delusional self-help books that talk about sending positive thoughts out into the universe, and the universe is supposed to return the favour by giving you whatever you want. The authors of those books tend to claim that they have discovered some ancient secret of wealth and happiness, and are waiting to share that secret with you as soon as you buy their book/DVD/whatever.

      Catherine seems to be feeling the same way. “Oh Caleb, that’s amazing! You’ve been a half-way tolerable human being for a month and a half. What’s your secret? You’ve got to tell me, because I want to try it out too!” I mean, he even hugged his mom, so clearly whatever revelation he received, it must have been of earth-shattering nature. Maybe after her conversion, Catherine will learn to hug her mom too. Oh right, her mom is still seriously ill. Bummer. Well, no need for Catherine to worry about that anymore, she’s got a Christian husband now!

      Do we find out anything about what happened to Catherine’s mom? Or did that plot thread just vanish into thin air after Caleb paid his Marriage Restoration Fee? If this was a decent movie, I’d expect some scene of Caleb and Catherine looking after the sick mom together. It would show how their marriage has changed for the better, and also make the mom seem like a real person worthy of love and care, instead of just a plot convenience who is immediately forgotten after she’s no longer relevant to the main character’s story.

      • The last we see of Catherine’s mom is her being happy with her new bed and wheelchair. So we’re supposed to assume that everything works out with her as well as can be expected, I guess.

        But no, we never actually see Caleb interacting with his mother-in-law. At all. Which makes sense since she is, after all, a woman.

  4. Re “she did the love dare on him”: I recommend the music video for The Loophole, by Garfunkel and Oates, though it’s thoroughly NSFW. Might be at .

    Why don’t they show real conversions? Because real conversions are hard work. The audience is either inside, and needing to be told how easy it is if you do it right so if they’re finding it hard they must be filthy sinners who need to give more money and labour to the church, or outside, and needing to be tempted in.

    (If you think that totally remaking your life maybe should be hard, you’re obviously not in the target audience.)

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