After an exhausting night saving a young girl from a raging house fire, Fireman Tom Hatcher is at the end of his rope. He couldn’t save his wife from cancer – and worse yet – his 6-year-old daughter, Tiffany, is now facing the same possible fate. When he finds himself in a cold jail cell after attacking a pastor out of frustration with a seemingly absent God, Tom begins to reflect on his downward spiral into despair. But with the help and persistent friendship of the very man he assaulted, Tom is challenged to face his grief and embrace faith in the darkest hours of his life.
This movie offers a wonderful truth: faith will take you through the fire! Tom Hatcher is a fireman who has fought his share of fires. But none compares to the fires in his personal life that he will have to navigate. He loses his wife, Sara, to cancer, and then shortly afterwards learns that his daughter, Tiffany, has cancer too.
In an unforgettable scene, Tom enters the door of a church as Pastor Dan Underwood (strongly portrayed by Dean Cain) is greeting his congregation with an “It’s good to be in the house of the Lord!” Pastor Dan reveals he is beginning a series, and he opens up in Ecclesiastes 3:18. The series will be titled “There is a Season” and he plans to speak about the various topics in this chapter, including the passage that there is a time to be born and a time to die. From the back of the church a hurting Tom challenges the pastor. “Where are these miracles?” he demands. “When will God come down and do these miracles? Where’s the Almighty to help the people? Where is the King?” Pastor Dan steps down from the platform and goes to the man. “He knows our pain and is acquainted with our grief,” he says. When the pastor begins to speak of faith Tom belts him and knocks him down!
Fortunately, the story doesn’t end there. One of the pastor’s statements becomes a theme of the film: “Doubt is the yeast that spoils the whole loaf.” He and Tom meet again as Tom apologizes and Pastor Dan does his utmost to help Tom travel the path of pain and disappointment. As the pastor points out, God puts people in our lives that love us and help us along the way and our faith in God’s love is essential to maintain peace of mind.
One of the persons that God places in Tom’s life is a nurse, named Melissa, and Tom’s own daughter Tiffany believes that her mother would even be pleased if Tom were to marry her. Melissa is a warm person, compassionate, and patient. She knows Tom has been through a lot with the loss of his wife and the serious illness of his daughter. However, when Tom misses a dinner date with her and winds up instead at the bar, it soon becomes questionable whether he will get another chance.
Tiffany’s health goes up and down, with good days when she is even able to return home from the hospital, to the not-so-good days when she winds up back at the hospital. When Tom attends church with Tiffany, the ushers are not aware that Tom and Pastor Dan made peace, and they ask him to leave. It will take a lot of perseverance and convincing for Pastor Dan to get Tom to return to the church. Another person who is placed in Dan’s life is Tiffany’s doctor, Dr. Robinson, a Christian who is not ashamed to tell Tom he is praying for Tiffany. Kevin Sorbo gives a powerful performance as the doctor, especially when he has to sit Tom down to give him some difficult news.
The movie does a good job in laying out the painful moments of life, but also in offering hope through faith in God and the help of caring people. The actress billed simply as Tenley is terrific as Tiffany, giving a layered performance as a young, compassionate girl who is also wise beyond her years. Likewise, Nick Vlassopoulos gives a solid performance as Tom Hatcher. Although there are some depressing moments in the film, such as when we find out about Pastor Dan’s pain from the past, there are several shining moments when hope is offered for the warriors of God to march forward.
We are awarding this dramatic, faith-based film our Dove-approved seal for Ages 12+, while noting some children a bit younger may be mature enough to watch as well. Parents should consult our content listing and make their own informed decisions.
The Dove Take:
This movie will speak to everyone — and it offers hope to families that have experienced pain that God and people who care are to be found, if they only remember it.