Old Fashioned (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rik Swartzwelder|
|Produced by||Nathan Nazario|
William K Baker
|Written by||Rik Swartzwelder|
|Starring||Elizabeth Ann Roberts|
|Music by||Kazimir Boyle|
|Edited by||Jonathan Olive|
|Box office||$1.9 million |
Old Fashioned is a 2014 romance film directed and written by Rik Swartzwelder, who also plays the male lead opposite Elizabeth Ann Roberts. The film had a limited release in just three markets on February 6, 2015, with its major release over the Valentine's weekend that followed (on 224 screens).
Clay Walsh owns an old antique shop where he repairs and restores furniture. Situated in a small Midwestern college town, he is known as someone with unusual convictions. Into his life arrives Amber, a free spirited young woman who rents the apartment above Clay's shop. She is immediately struck by the fact that he is unwilling to enter the apartment to show her around. Asking why, he states he has made a pledge not to be alone with a woman other than his wife. She finds this odd, all the more so when she learns he, in fact, is not married. She takes the apartment and finds a job at a local shop, but is interested in knowing more about the owner of the antique shop. Her efforts are complicated by the fact that Clay does not date, believing modern day dating is poor preparation for marriage. The only time he will come up and see Amber is when something in her apartment needs repair. Undaunted by the barrier, she contrives a number of breakdowns to continue their conversations. Eventually Clay agrees to take her out, but they do not engage in typical dates.
Over time we learn Amber has been in a number of relationships, but they were superficial and at times abusive. Her escape was always to move on to a new place. Clay has an even more checkered past. In his college days he knew a great many women, and he shot exploitation films in the manner of Girls Gone Wild. Doing this he made a great deal of money, but on realizing the pain that his life was causing those around him he went through a major life change. He withdrew from the world, and for the past nine years has confined himself to working in his antique shop. Working with the wood he has become a true craftsman. In town he is known for his faith, his reserve and his odd theories on love and romance. This irritates his old friends, who find his ideas old fashioned and out of place. Few understand Clay is burdened with guilt over his former behavior. He does not date as he no longer sees himself fit for anyone.
Despite the unusual rules Clay has committed to living under, Amber sees a man whose life she wants to be a part of. There is some push and pull, where she asserts she would just like to do things people do on normal dates, but with time she decides it is not worth it. "I don't want normal" she tells him. "I want you." A crisis develops, and both end up going their own way. In the wake of the separation Clay seeks out his Great Aunt Zella, who tells him not to let her go. She guides Clay, telling him she has never seen anyone try so hard to be good, but that life is not about his failings. It is about loving those that God has brought into our lives. She encourages him to step out into the world and love, knowing that failure is just a part of it. Clay does so, asking Amber to marry him. Before he can even get the question out she answers "Yes." He warns her to be cautious, that it will not be easy. She simply repeats her answer "Yes."
- Elizabeth Ann Roberts as Amber
- Rik Swartzwelder as Clay
- LeJon Woods as David
- Tyler Hollinger as Brad
- Nini Hadjis as Lisa
- Maryann Nagel as Carol
- Lindsay Heath as Trish
- Joseph Bonamico as George
- Dorothy Silver as Great Aunt Zella
- Ange'le Perez as Cosie
- Anne Marie Nestor as Kelly
The script was written by Swartzwelder, who had been working on it for a few years already when, in 2007, he partnered with lawyer Gordon Touring (after earlier meeting at a film conference). The two formed a production company (Skoche Films), but financing was delayed by the 2007 global economic recession. Filming finally began in 2011, with additonal shooting in 2012. By late 2013, the film was ready for release. Then, in early 2014, when the release date for 50 Shades of Grey was set for Valentine's Day weekend 2015, the decision was made to delay the release of Old Fashioned to coincide with that release.
The film depicts a rather unconventional dating method chosen by the protagonist as a means to get away from the cultural norms he has found to be destructive. Clay is quite isolated for a young believer. Having wounded people that he loved, he is ridden with guilt, and has taken the response too far. He does not have Christian friends and does not attend a church. Commented the film's primary creative influence, Rik Swartzwelder: "He has isolated himself from other people, isolated himself ultimately from God even, and it started to change him in a not good way. She starts to press in on him."
Notes author Karee Santos: "In the tender and sometimes rocky romance between the main characters, we see two broken individuals helping to heal each other." In an interview about the film Dr. Juli Slattery remarked: "They both came from a lot of poor choices. It is a story not just of romance, but of God's redemption." Notes Swartzwelder: "I wanted to tell a love story that takes the idea of Godly romance seriously. A story that, without apology, explores the possibility of a higher standard in relationships; yet, is also fully aware of just how fragile we all are and doesn’t seek to heap guilt upon those of us that have made mistakes."
The review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 19% based on 21 reviews from critics, and a weighted average of 4.36 out of 10. Time magazine's Lily Rothman noted that the film "was a response to what its creators see as a culture that celebrates ideas like those in '50 Shades' but does not seem to create stable romantic relationships." Michael Rechtshaffen of the Los Angeles Times found the film disturbing. Joe Leydon of Variety wrote that "Swartzwelder wants to engage his target audience with a tale of moral redemption through chaste romance. Trouble is, throughout a good portion of his movie, the writer-director gives off a disconcerting Norman Bates vibe". Karee Santos of the Catholic Match Institute wrote: "Amber shows Clay that love doesn’t have to be perfect to be worth it, and Clay shows Amber that respect for a woman’s body does not equal a lack of passion or a disinterest in love for the long term."
The film did find support from some mainstream critics. In his review for RogerEbert.com, Glenn Kenny noted the film was sensitive, competently crafted, and beautifully shot. He commented "It’s incredibly rare to see an American movie with a Christian perspective that’s more invested in philosophizing and empathizing than in eschatological pandering, and for that alone Old Fashioned deserves commendation."
Though the movie was not intended by its makers as an answer to the romantic drama 50 Shades of Grey, the movie's makers welcomed the contrast and intentionally released their film at the same time to capitalize on that contrast. Swartzwelder commented: "I was not trying to counter any book or film. I was simply trying to tell a more beautiful love story that took the idea of honoring God and romance and dating seriously."
Shot mostly in Ohio, the movie came out over the Valentines weekend of 2015, opening the same weekend as Universal's Fifty Shades of Grey. The film ended the four-day President's Day holiday weekend with a gross take of $1,083,308. It set a box office record as the largest opening weekend for a faith-based film opening on fewer than 300 screens. The following week, the film expanded to 298 screens. The movie grossed $1,914,090 during its theatrical run.
The film was released on DVD and Digital on 16 June 2015.
The film garnered multiple film festival screenings and a number of awards, both from mainstream and Christian fests. In September 2014, it was selected as a finalist for the Breakthrough Film Award at the Twin Cities Film Fest. In November of that year, it was selected for the Best of the Festival Award at the Mt. Hood Independent Film Festival. In July 2015, it was selected as the Best Picture and Best Drama over $250,000 at the annual ICVM Crown Awards. Focus on the Family's Plugged In selected the movie as Best Christian Film of 2015. In March 2017, the film was nominated at the Attic Film Festival for Best Film, Best Screenplay (Rik Swartzwelder), Best Performance Male (Rik Swartzwelder), Best Performance Female (Elizabeth Ann Roberts), Best Director (Rik Swartzwelder) and Best Production Design (Melody George). A month later at the festival the film garnered the Judges' Award for Best Film. In addition, Rik Swartzwelder garnered the award for Best Director.
Milan Records released the official motion picture soundtrack on February 10, 2015; it includes both songs by a variety of artists as well as several selections from the original score by Kazimir Boyle. In addition, a second soundtrack (digital only) of previously unreleased original score tracks was released by the composer via iTunes (More Music from the Motion Picture Old Fashioned).
Novel and official companion book
In December 2014, Tyndale House Publishers released both a novelization of the Old Fashioned screenplay (written by Rene Gutteridge) as well as an official companion book for the film and the novel, The Old Fashioned Way: Reclaiming the Lost Art of Romance (written by Ginger Kolbaba).
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- Griffith, Wendy (9 February 2015). "'Old Fashioned' Romance Shreds 'Shades of Grey'". CBN News. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
- Santos, Karee (7 February 2015). "Restraints or Self-Restraint?: 50 Shades of Grey vs. Old Fashioned". Catholic Match Institute. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- Toto, Christian Faith-Based Romance 'Old Fashioned' Battles 'Fifty Shades of Grey' on Valentines Day 28 July 2014 Retrieved 17 January 2019
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- Rothman, Lily (30 July 2014). "Make Chaste: How the Faith-Based Counterpart to 50 Shades of Grey Came to Be". Time. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- Rechtshaffen, Michael (12 February 2015). "Review: 'Old Fashioned' an unrepentantly faith-based romance". LA Times. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- Leydon, Joe (17 February 2015). "'Old Fashioned' Review: An Early Contender for the Year's Creepiest Faith-Based Movie". Variety. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- Kenny, Glenn (February 2015). "Old Fashioned". Roger Ebert.com. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- "In Their Own Words: Director Rik Swartzwelder of "Old Fashioned" ← One Film Fan". Retrieved 2019-01-27.
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- "Weekend Report (cont.): 'Kingsman' Spies $42 Million President's Day Debut - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 2015-09-07.
- TCFF Staff (23 October 2014). "Just Announced: Twin Cities Film Fest 2014 Awards Finalists!". Twin Cities Film Festival. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
- "Awards (Old Fashioned)". IMDB. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
- "2015 Winners". Retrieved 2015-09-04.
- "Unrolling the Red Carpet for the PIMA Awards | Plugged In Blog". Plugged In Blog. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
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