“I thought I’d always be alone.” Clay’s voice is heard while a dreamy clip of him and Amber is seen in sepia, as if nostalgic of a distant past. “Why?” she asked. “It’s what I deserve,” was his reply. “Oh, that’s a bunch of hooey,” she said, as she reaches out for his hand.
Movies headlining the importance of pursuing godly relationships are few and far between, making Old Fashioned (2014) one of the most beautiful, wholesome, and courageous films filed under the romance genre. Not only does it promote Christian values, but it also challenges the dating practices of today’s society so boldly that it was deliberately released at the same time as Fifty Shades of Grey, offering a radical alternative to the cultural juggernaut.
The movie’s director, producer, and lead actor, Rik Swartzwelder, summarizes his independent feature film as the story of a former frat boy, Clay Walsh (played by Swartzwelder), and a free-spirited woman, Amber Hewson (played by Elizabeth Ann Roberts), who attempt the impossible: an old-fashioned courtship in contemporary America. Out of this plot, Old Fashioned succeeded in sharing three essential life lessons:
1. “Old-fashioned” courtship results in a rewarding and meaningful relationship.
“Unless two people are married, true love is expressed through patience and self-control.” – Joshua Harris
Reminiscent of the book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris, Old Fashioned recaptures the essence of standing on moral high ground by choosing modesty, purity, and marriage, while avoiding the pitfalls of legalism. It presents the truth that contrary to popular opinion, being “old-fashioned” does not mean being dull or unromantic. In fact, godly old-fashioned relationships are more exciting and romantic, if not more rewarding and meaningful, than modern dating norms. For instance, the hook-up culture, which panders to people’s baser instincts of lust, disrespect, and misogyny, inevitably leads to pain and regret.
2. We are capable of changing from our past mistakes.
Old things have passed away; behold all things become new. – Clay Walsh (quoting Scripture)
Also echoing the book-turned-movie A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks, Old Fashioned lovingly encourages us to forgive ourselves as God forgives us, and then motivates us to turn our lives around. From a typical douche, Clay was able to transform into a paragon of virtue, not only in the aspect of dating but also in his life as a whole. As a worker, he exercises discipline by diligently laboring in his humble antique shop. As a friend and family, he radiates light, service, and respect, as manifested in his regular visits to take care of his elderly aunt, and in saving his friend in the face of temptation. Through Clay’s spiritual awakening, we see that regardless of our past experiences, where we have been, or where we are now, God is always ready to lift us up with His mercy, grace, and love.
3. Godly relationship is worth the wait.
“No one gets good at something without practice. Everything I do now is preparing me for the kind of husband I’ll be one day. God willing. Nothing magical happens when you walk down the aisle. Like it or not, what we do when we’re single is what we’ll do when we’re married.” – Clay Walsh
Old Fashioned inspires us to trust God by patiently waiting on His perfect time and letting Him be in-charge of our relationships. Trusting God also means using our singlehood to prepare and focus on the things that matter, instead of restlessly looking for potential mates. The goal is to glorify God as long as we’re single, and if God decides at some point to give us a spouse, then we’ll glorify Him in marriage (from here). Clay waited on God for nine long years that at some point he thought he’d always be alone. But God made sure that his waiting is well worth it.
Old Fashioned is an underrated film that truly deserves commendation for being a well-crafted, faith-based indie picture with a refreshing perspective on the true meaning of love.
A different take on this week’s WordPress Discover challenge, “Transcript,” this post is an attempt to preserve the lost art of chivalry.
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