When the Dovers find they’re in financial jeopardy, the only answer is to sell the house Anne’s parents left her. But when no one wants to buy it, they decide the only way to get rid of the house is to fix it up.
Sometimes a movie looks like it’s about one thing when it’s really about another. Fixer Upper is ostensibly about Dan and Anne Dover, a couple that gets into financial problems and needs to find a way out quick. They can’t get Dan’s parents to loan them money and so their only recourse is to try to sell the house that Anne’s deceased parents left her.
But the house is more than a possible way out of debt. It is symbolic of their relationship, and the tension in the film stems from what they want to do with it. Dan is all about selling it and using the profits to get the couple back on their feet financially. Sometimes people don’t want to do the hard work that maintaining a house, or a relationship requires. They’d rather sell it and be done with it.
Anne is more sentimentally attached to it, the memories, and wants to fix it up and keep it. The house isn’t in bad shape; it just needs a modern touch. Our needs change over the years as we grow, and as Christians, we’re constantly undergoing renovation if we’re doing it right. Anne’s willing to put in the work. Dan is, too, but still doesn’t get the full importance of what’s happening. When an agent comes up with a full-price offer for the house, Anne is reluctant to accept it because the buyer wants to tear the house down and build four houses in the same space. She tries to keep the offer a secret.
Of course, Dan eventually finds out about it. After he gets over the initial feelings about being kept out of the loop, he starts to realize what the house means to her — that it’s really not the house, but all the intangible things it represents. Once he tells her, “I care about you more than work, more than where we live,” they find common ground where both their dreams can be realized.
Even though this isn’t a faith movie, per se, it’s a powerful statement in times where marriages are fractured, where relationships are treated as disposable and people are more interested in what they can get out of a relationship than what they can give. As such, it merits the Dove-Approved Seal for All Ages.
The Dove Take:
Once the main characters’ hearts are renovated, their relationship becomes a mansion with a solid foundation.