An #OldFashionedMovie Review

It may be old fashioned, but God’s wisdom is always the best. Get some at Proverbial Thought!

This past weekend was St. Valentines’ Day. A couple movies were released just in time: 50 Shades of Grey, and what I call the Anti-50-Shades-of-Grey, Old Fashioned. I saw one of these. I saw it twice, actually: once as a triple date and once with our youth group.

Obviously I am talking about 50 Shades … no … wait …

Old Fashioned poster

Just Old Fashioned, I guess …

In the movie, Clay Walsh (played by writer/director/producer Rik Swartzwelder) owns the antique shop “Old Fashioned Antiques” that has an apartment upstairs. Clay used to be the epitome of the college partying frat boy, including having a successful “Girls Gone Wild” type of business. Then his life changed, and he became known more as a legalistic Christian who has rules and theories about life and love, including not being in a room alone with a woman who is not his wife (within reason, of course).

Enter Amber Hewson (played by Elizabeth Roberts), a bit of a free spirit who stays in a town until she fills her jar with enough money to fill her car with enough gas to get away. She then drives until she runs out of gas, and where that happens she stays. You probably guessed, she runs out in Clay’s town and rents his apartment. To pay for it, she gets a job at the local florist.

She makes friends with her coworkers, one a disillusioned three-times divorcee, the other a young fun-living woman. His best friends are two of his old frat brothers who stuck with him, one who lives with his longtime girlfriend and their daughter, and the other a womanizing, chauvinistic DJ. In other words, their friends do not share Clay’s views on traditional marriage and love.

Needless to say, she helps him to loosen up a little (while respecting his beliefs and values) while he shows her that chivalry is not dead. And they fall in love.

The Anti-50-Shades-of-Grey

My wife and me doing what we do ...

My wife and me doing what we do …

One reason I love this film: It is as if the makers looked at how my wife and I started out and made a “based on a true story” adaptation. (Remember, you only need 7% of the story to be “based on” a story.)

Now for the actual review:

Many people tend to think, “Oh. A Christian film. That means cheesy acting and an in-your-face “believe this right now!” gospel presentation.” In the first 15 minutes, there are a few (maybe three or four) “that could have been acted better” moments, but not cheesy. If I had to complain, it would be that the gospel could have been clearer.

I do not see that as a real problem, though. It simply leaves the door open for Christians to do their job as Christ followers. This movie can just make that job easier.

Some dangerous things:

I have no issue with dangerous. Christ warned us of dangers (John 16:33), and He, Peter, and Paul (as well as several others) demonstrated how conversations and standing up for what is right and godly can be dangerous. (I mean, come on, The Parable of the Good Samaritan? So many Jews would have killed Him for that alone!)

  • Amber is not necessarily a Christian
  • Clay has not attended church for a while (due to the “hypocrisy show”)
  • There are several scenes of alcoholic drinking
  • It deals with issues of “frat boy carousing,” one night stands, divorce, and non-believing friends

For the record: I would not change a thing! (It is PG-13, and I agree with that!)

Some of the goodness (even though I have seen it twice, I might miss a bit):

  • Out of dirty backstory comes something many can relate to: real life. As I said above, I like the movie because of how closely it hits home (both with my past and how my wife and I met and began our relationship).
  • It has many natural conversations (as in, they do not feel scripted). As the gospel is presented, it is done in bits and pieces over the course of the film, much like happens so often in real life.
  • As the story progresses, we see how choices affect others, both in good and bad ways. There are times that both of their pasts come back to haunt them. There are times when . . . morals and chivalry  the minds of others.
  • The need for a savior is made evident.
  • The Christians are not perfect! In fact, the Christian lead overcomes some of his own shortcomings.
  • God’s “mysterious ways” are shown through many characters (especially his great aunt Zella!)

Old Fashioned puts grace, mercy, and biblical love on full display. Two of my (many) favorite quotes are:

  1. “There is no goodness … without mercy.”
  2. “When did treating women with respect become the joke?” (or as my wife re-phrased it, “When did treating [anyone, men or women] with respect become the joke?”)
This is a great movie, and everyone should see this. My suggestion: only mature junior highers and older should watch this movie. It is rated PG-13, after all.
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