Old Fashioned (2014)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Old Fashioned (2014)
Rated PG-13. Drama, Romance, Faith Film


Description (from the film case): Former frat boy, Clay Walsh (Rik Swartzwelder), has given up his reckless carousing and now runs an antique shop in a small Midwestern town. There, he has become notorious for his theories on love and romance as well as his devout beliefs. When Amber Hewson (Elizabeth Ann Roberts), a free-spirited young woman with a restless soul, rents the apartment above his shop, she finds herself surprisingly drawn to his strong faith and noble ideas. Together, they attempt the impossible: and old fashioned courtship in contemporary America.

My thoughts: I don’t think this film’s description does it justice, as I’ve found the story to be so much more than two people trying to attempt an old fashioned courtship. The style of their courtship isn’t the point, so much.

Since I read Old Fashioned as a novel before the movie released, I was already aware that the story isn’t about giving folks pointers or rules on chaste dating. That would’ve made for a noble but likely pretty simplistic, flat tale—and if you watch the movie and only see “chaste dating rules” in it, then you’ve missed the movie.

This story is about a guy and girl who must each decide if they’re going to finally get to the nitty-gritty of their individual fears and deal with them head-on, or if they’re going to continue to use their chosen methods of running and hiding. Neither one of them is completely right. Neither one of them is completely wrong. Neither the characters who’re Christians nor the characters who aren’t Christians are either right or wrong about everything. There’s tension and layers to this story.

Sure, I had to get past the obvious fact that the leading man here is rather, um, mature for the young man he plays. Some parts of the movie are too slow, the bar dancing is corny, and though none of the acting is bad, not all of it is my favorite.

But the writing here is excellent. It ties so many thoughts, points, and images together and doesn’t waste them, no matter how small. And although the leading man may not have been my first choice for that role, the fact that he also wrote, produced, and directed the film himself is nothing to sneeze at.

Old Fashioned is one of my all-time favorite novels, and although I didn’t cry, oh, quite as hard at the end of the movie (I literally wept after reading the novel’s last page), the movie didn’t disappoint me and even exceeded my expectations.

My corresponding reading: Old Fashioned by Rene Gutteridge.



Old Fashioned by Rene Gutteridge

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Tyndale House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Five Gold Stars

Old FashionedOld Fashioned by Rene Gutteridge

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click on the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Oh. My. God.

Literally. God. Mine.

The truth was, maybe he had no idea how to get to know a woman in a safe way.

Well. Old Fashioned wasn’t what I was expecting. First off, I didn’t know until I was holding this novel by author Rene Gutteridge in my hands that it’s actually based on a screenplay, one written by writer-director-producer Rik Swartzwelder. And, finding out that this book’s cinematic counterpart is purposely being released the same weekend as the film version of Fifty Shades of Grey, it strengthened the assumption I formed after once brushing through Old Fashioned’s book blurb: this would be a nice story intent on giving rather blanket pointers on chaste dating practices for Christians. I’d like it well enough, and that would be that.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when, while reading, I realized this novel wasn’t what I’d thought it’d be. When I finished the book, I threw it down, took a seat, and wept.

“Sometimes doing right is more than not doing wrong.”

Former reckless frat boy, Clay Walsh, meets free-spirited pretty girl, Amber Hewson, in this romantic story that’s both sweet and humorous but also complex, nuanced, and at many points, just enough. The characters, major and minor, are imperfect, sometimes outrageous, and ultimately believable. Heartache, shame, faith, and grace find their places in this tale, not about dating pointers, but about a guy and a girl, plus the guy and himself, the girl and herself, and the God Who loves them both.

“As Lloyd tells me every day–be a good steward of your pain.”

A vague book review, I know. Descriptions rarely do experiences complete justice, but it didn’t take me long after weeping to know that I’d be adding Old Fashioned to my list of all-time favorite books.


Old Fashioned the movie opened Valentine’s Day weekend, 2015. Click the image below to view the trailer.

Old Fashioned Image