This Valentine’s Day, Aim for ‘Old Fashioned’

This fall, I took the opportunity to watch Old Fashioned, which opens in theaters today. When I heard it was billed against the highly anticipated 50 Shades of Grey, I’ll admit I was more than curious. I’m not such a fan of 50 Shades, but I’m also not necessarily a fan of sappy and badly made shove-God-down-your-throat films either.

I was in for a surprise with Old Fashioned. I streamed it on an evening when everyone was in bed early. Living as I do in the middle of a cornfield, it took me about twice as long to watch it (streaming over my connection is always an exercise in patience).

My first reaction was that this movie was far, far better than I expected it to be. I often find myself annoyed with the slew of “Christian” movies that seem to “answer” every societal ill and every cultural problem. They just aren’t often at the level of quality to make their storytelling compelling, their filming professional, and their production worth suffering through.

Old Fashioned is not guilty of these things, and I was so glad of it. This is a love story in every good and holy sense of that phrase. It’s funny and clever and maddening in just the right dosage.

While it’s very focused on Clay’s struggle to put chastity into practice — and he is over-the-top in a way that is so well done that I wanted to punch him — it’s also very focused on the “Get real!” aspect of living. Getting real isn’t about running away or giving in or conforming. It’s about knowing what is real, what is important, what is True.

Old Fashioned is a series of love stories: the obvious one between Clay and Amber, but also a love story between God and each of those two characters individually. I found myself relating to Amber and her struggles, and I had to admit as I watched it that the concept of chivalry in action warms my heart.

There’s a scene where Clay’s aunt gives him the what for and reminds him that grace is not something to bludgeon around. It’s a reminder that I all too often am tempted to be the Pharisee, to be the self-righteous religious hypocrite, to be the person who misses the beauty of God’s will because my focus is misplaced.

This is the kind of romance that makes me want to make homemade Valentines and receive them. It makes me think about the melting sweetness of those things that are so delightfully, well, old fashioned. It’s the kind of story that you wouldn’t hesitate to share with your kids…or have your kids live. Love is not something that should have to be hidden or covered up: it’s created by God, after all.

I enjoyed how this movie shows the hypocrisy of some of Clay’s understanding of Christianity and love. I appreciated how love perseveres in the storyline. I was hearted with how how this is, in the end, a movie of hope.

Don’t go see this movie because you’re opposing something else. Go see this movie because you deserve a good story and a little swoony bouquet of watching.