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Movie Review

Old Fashioned

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some thematic material.

Reviewed by: Samuel Chetty
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Christian Romance Drama
Length:
1 hr. 55 min.
Year of Release:
2014
USA Release:
September 18, 2014 (festival)
February 13, 2015 (wide—224 theaters)
DVD: June 16, 2015
Copyright, Freestyle Releasing click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Freestyle Releasing Copyright, Freestyle Releasing Copyright, Freestyle Releasing Copyright, Freestyle Releasing Copyright, Freestyle Releasing Copyright, Freestyle Releasing Copyright, Freestyle Releasing
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Freestyle Releasing

God-honoring romance

GUIDELINES—What are the biblical guidelines for dating relationships? Answer

lust and fornication in the Bible

PURITY—Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

GOING TOO FAR—How far is too far? What are the guidelines for dating relationships? Answer

How can I deal with temptations? Answer

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

Copyright, Freestyle Releasing
Christian courtship

DATING—Why won’t my parents allow me to single-date? Answer

Biblical courtship versus dating (off-site)

Are you ready for Christian Courtship? (off-site)

Christian courtship links (off-site)

strong faith and noble ideals draws others

Copyright, Freestyle Releasing
Christian living

What advice do you have for new and growing Christians? Answer

How do I know what is right from wrong? Answer

How can I decide whether a particular activity is wrong? Answer

goodness and righteousness versus sin

ANXIETY, FEAR AND WORRY—What does the Bible say? Answer

How can I deal with temptations? Answer

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Christian answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more. Valuable resources for Christian couples, singles and pastors.
Featuring: Elizabeth Roberts (Elizabeth Ann Roberts) … Amber
Rik Swartzwelder … Clay
LeJon Woods … David
Tyler Hollinger … Brad
Nini Hadjis … Lisa
Maryanne Nagel … Carol
Lindsay Heath … Trish
Joseph Bonamico … George
Dorothy Silver … Aunt Zella
Ange'le Perez … Cosie
Anne Marie Nestor … Kelly
more »
Director: Rik Swartzwelder
Producer: Skoche Films
Motion Picture Pro Studios
Distributor: Freestyle Releasing

“Love is patient. Love is kind. Chivalry makes a comeback.”

“Old Fashioned” is a romance drama about two young adults, Clay and Amber (Rik Swartzwelder and Elizabeth Roberts) who, despite contrasting values on relationships before marriage, form a romantic attraction after meeting each other. Clay believes that conventional dating leads to unsuccessful marriages, because couples focus more on the dating experience itself than getting to know each other in a way that would lead to an informed decision to marry.

Though Clay is now a devoted Christian, he was formerly a wild fraternity guy, and believes that sexual temptation can be powerful enough to warrant strict personal rules, such as refusing to be alone with a woman on private property. Amber feels that Clay’s views are too restrictive, but she is willing to comply and begin a courtship with him. The big question is whether the differences between them are wide enough to stop the courtship from leading to marriage.

GUIDELINES—What are the biblical guidelines for dating relationships? Answer

From a Biblical perspective, this movie evokes the message of Romans 14, which is about respecting the convictions of other people’s consciences by not judging them for their cautiousness, and not engaging in offending activities in front of them that could entice them to deny their convictions. In the movie, Amber makes fun of Clay at first, but she later gains respect for his conscience and realizes that it would be wrong to try to change him, even if she is not personally adopting his views.

One thing which surprises me is that, although Clay is greatly concerned with avoiding premature marriage commitments, he does not seem concerned about knowing Amber’s positions on doctrinal matters, despite her statement that she believes in God but does not believe everything in the Bible. In my opinion, if marriage is under consideration, the theological differences between them could have more implications for compatibility than many things that Clay questions her about.

From storytelling and moviemaking standpoints, “Old Fashioned” has some weaknesses, but it is good enough to convey its message. The only negative elements for me are the movie’s occasional, exaggerated attempts to look “relevant.” In contrast to Clay’s extremely conservative lifestyle, other people in the town exhibit “cool” attitudes to a degree that I found annoying. The characters of Clay and Amber are somewhat lacking in depth, but their initially-stereotypical personalities do round out some by the end. Considering the screen time, the plot would be stronger if it had more events, but the movie can probably keep audiences engaged due to Amber’s and Clay’s interactions.

All things considered, this is a nice movie that I would recommend for those who like romance films.

Objectionable Content?

Sexual Content: No explicit dialog or imagery, but the script includes the word “sex” multiple times, with discussion of premarital sex and pregnancy. Most of this dialog pertains to Clay’s and Amber’s pasts. Two secondary characters live together before marriage and have a child. The story includes a couple attempts at seduction, but they are thwarted. One scene shows Amber in a bathtub, although you only see her head and the top of her shoulders. There is also a somewhat-humorous suggestion that a person may be gay. The film also has several short kissing scenes.

PURITY—Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

Language: Three “Good Lord” exclamations and one “God forbid,” one use of “cr*p,” and a few instances of name-calling (stupid, idiot).

Violence: A scene of physical aggression between characters.

Alcohol use: Several bar scenes.

Other: A radio show has some sexist broadcasts, but the movie portrays this negatively.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Saw this movie last night with my wife, and we both really liked it. It really shone a bright spotlight on the inherent problems with how people, in general, approach romantic relationships, and illustrates how doing romance in a way that respects God’s boundaries can be every bit as romantic, thrilling, and ultimately even more fulfilling, than doing your relationships the Hollywood way.

And it’s not using rose coloured glasses either—it presents two flawed people who have made the same mistakes that most of us have and shows that with love and forgiveness your past can indeed be different from your future.

I totally disagree with the reviewer’s opinion re: the moviemaking exaggerated attempts to look relevant, and the people exhibiting cool attitudes to an annoying degree. Not sure where the reviewer lives, shops and works, but where I live, shop and work, I run into people like that every day of the week. Talk with your colleagues about what they did on the weekend, and you see that situations like that and ambivalence towards morality (especially sexual morality) is pervasive.

From the jokes about cheating, to the girl that would standby and let her obviously vulnerable friend make a drunken hookup with some random guy, to the friend who doesn’t see anything wrong with rekindling an old relationship even though it would be adulterous, to the over-the-top entertainment chosen for the bachelor party, that’s not exaggerated, that’s the average Joe and Jill nowadays, and I really applaud the director for taking these issues head on in a way that will get people to think about it. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Marc, age 42 (USA)
Positive—Excellent movie—go see!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Gloria, age 52 (USA)
Positive—My family and I were delightfully surprised! We brought our kids age 16-23. It was better than the trailer! It was sweet and romantic. There were a few flaws. Clay makes a big deal about not being alone with a woman, then goes on a picnic with Amber, and it is very private. I thought the values were a bit inconsistent. I was uncomfortable with the bachelor party scene. Nothing really happens, and there is no real immodesty, but I didn’t like watching it with my teens, because it was pretty suggestive. My family disagreed with me on this point. All in all, great movie. We plan on buying the DVD.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Lew, age 45 (USA)
Positive—In general, a pleasant enough movie made more pleasant by its positive view of Christianity and sexual morality. It was a bit slow, but still held the interest somehow. I agree with the reviewer’s concerns about the protagonist’s indifference to doctrinal differences while being so strong on sexual morality issues.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Jeremy Klein, age 59 (USA)
Positive—I’m impressed, I watched this with a friend and for the first time in a very long time, I feel like I watched an Adult Romantic movie that did not overly offend me, held to values that are in keeping with the teachings of the Bible and didn’t feel preachy.

While there were a few things that weren’t overly appealing, the alcohol, the stripper, and the sex tape (to which we only see the character’s reaction to watching it) and a few very mild profanities, I wish all Hollywood film makers could be sat down and shown this movie.

Who knew? Incredibly good films can be made without being offensive and be more fully in touch with the teachings of God. Brilliant on almost all counts!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Scott R, age 44 (Canada)
Positive—This movie surpassed my expectations. After watching it, I immediately told my eighteen year old daughter to watch it. What an option from what the world offers, which is a cheap knockoff of what God can design. Following God and standing for Jesus may not be easy. We always have our own things to learn. This movie was well written and portrayed the nuances of life as a Christian trying to seek God’s will and shine for Him while loving your neighbor without judgment. Bravo!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—T Wilkerson, age 47 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—This film was not entertaining. Watching it was not pleasant. The desired message was good. Wait for the DVD.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Sheila, age 59 (USA)
Negative
Negative—It’s dangerous to promote the idea of being unequally yoked so casually, especially when you have men and women in real life waiting for true courtship. If the roles were reversed, would we be encouraging a Christian woman in waiting to date a nonbeliever who is pressuring to get her attention? This movie is unfair to the women in waiting for Clays, by confirming that the Clays are ultimately smitten with the Ambers.

Though he said she wasn’t his type, his, “hello, pretty girl” opening line in the grocery store shows that her looks had weighed on par with his morals. I echo Christian Answer’s observation about the main character’s disregard for her beliefs and the implications that entails. Amber needed her reconciliation with Christ more than she needed Clay, and, if that was portrayed, it was done vaguely and ineffectively.

There was no sign of prayer or godly counsel, just a guy listening to his friends. The movie leaves it at she needed him, and he needed her to “get better.”

Believe me, I know women have married and seen Jesus” love through her husband’s love, but my concern is the lingering feeling that your healing and faith and beliefs come through a human being, when the movie premise is supposed to center around God’s design for relationship. It sends a mixed message to Christian singles who are already in a delicate situation because of their choice to honor God in this difficult world of relationships.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Beth, age 35 (USA)
Negative—I was very disappointed with this movie, and I was very excited to watch it. I don’t think this movie took any kind of stand for Jesus Christ and how we should never enter into a relationship with an unbeliever. It can be very dangerous. I wanted bad to like this movie. I kept waiting to see if he shared the Gospel with her or if she had a real conversion, but nothing other than her saying all things are new, which I guess maybe possibly meant she found The Lord… who knows?

Christians need to make more convicting movies that warn other Christians of the bad ideas of dating unbelievers. Chances are they are going to pull you away. Clay should’ve never gone there with her. The movie seemed more like a good Catholic moral movie to me than someone who stood to his convictions about courting to find a wife in Christ. Very disappointed!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Chris, age 43 (USA)
Negative—Can a Christian man really have a secular girl friend who is only a friend “without benefits”? While the movie had an interesting concept, it was just not believable, and in an offensive way. In fact, it reminded me of the movie “Pretty Woman”, nice movie, but things don’t work that way. I sincerely do not believe that this story could ever play out as it was presented.

Why? The Bible has given believing Christians an admonition not to be unequally yoked to unbelievers. I do not believe that God will give a pass to believers who flaunt God’s warnings and directions. Is that to say that Christians do not become unequally yoked? Of course it happens, all the time. But when things get tough, who will this Christian man pray with as he approaches God’s throne of grace? Not his secular girl-friend. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—C Franklin, age 55 (USA)
Negative—Most reviewers assume Clay is a true believer in Jesus Christ. That’s not clear from this movie. Nor is it clear that Amber truly accepts Christ as her savior. I see Clay as a formerly wild guy who reforms by his own self-will and determination to be smarter and kinder in dating. I see this as a rather nice moralistic movie with very light sprinklings of Christianity lightly dusted upon the script.

I can’t think who I would ever recommend this movie to. It ends with a “possible” Christian marrying a “possible” Christian. Pathetically weak ending, and sad when you consider what could have been done with the premise of this movie. This movie could have promoted true Christian courtship where a committed male believer, actively serving the Lord and the Kingdom of God begins a decent relationship with a female believer who is also actively serving the Lord and the Kingdom of God.

I do like the pre-marriage manual they go through and explore good questions. That’s a good idea, when both man and woman are real, true committed believers.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Tim Taylor, age 59 (USA)
Negative—I think Aunt Zella’s outburst to Amber and Clay sums up my feelings about this movie: “Good lord, will both of you take me home already? This is getting painful!” “Old Fashioned” is a deeply flawed movie that I thought tried too hard to be a Christian version of “When Harry Met Sally.”

My biggest problem with the plot was how Clay, someone who supposedly took his faith very seriously, would even consider courting a non-Christian woman. And in doing so, embraced yet another Christian fallacy called “missionary dating.” I also found Clay’s strict approach to courting to have little to do with being “old fashioned.” It was just an oddly extreme ideal, one that was never common in era that surrounded the old shop. Maybe the writer watched “The Quiet Man” too many times?

I can see what this movie was trying to do, but it fell woefully short on just about every mark. The writing was weak, the dialog was campy, the acting was flat (Clay came off unintentionally creepy), and there were stereotypes galore. Could you have more Christian symbols surrounding the pastor in his office?? I’m sorry if this was too harsh, but I beg the producers of faith-based movies: Please, please stop making films like this! It was just awful.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 1½
—Bruce, age 52 (USA)

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