I Watched Old Fashioned (2014, dir. by Rik Swartzwelder)

Clay (Rik Swartzwelder) is a former frat boy who has spent the last nine years trying to find love the old fashioned way.  He won’t accept a kiss on the lips.  He says that all dating does is make people act in superficial and dishonest ways.  He says that he cannot even be alone with a woman unless she is wife.  (Clay’s not married.)  Because he’s so old fashioned, it makes sense that Clay would open an antique store in a small town.  (Of course, he’s named the store Old Fashioned.)  When a single, free-spirited woman named Amber (Elizabeth Roberts) runs out of gas in the town and then impulsively rents the apartment above the shop, Clay is forced to reconsider his rigid rules about dating.

At first, I didn’t know what to make of Old Fashioned.  I can be old fashioned about some things myself but Clay took it to extremes and I wasn’t sure why anyone would want to waste their time trying to get his attention.  Yes, people can be superficial when they’re dating and they act differently once they’re in a committed relationship but what’s the other option?  Arranged marriages?  Only getting to know people through church socials and holiday picnics?  Clay didn’t have the answers for that.  Instead, he just said that he would get married when he met the “right woman” and that he would instinctively know who she was.  Nice plan, Clay. Too bad the real world is a little more complicated than that.

Luckily, it turned out that the movie agreed with me, with Amber challenging Clay’s beliefs and regularly calling him out for his holier-than-thou attitude.  Clay wasn’t presented as being wrong for choosing to be old fashioned but instead for being so extreme about it.  Some good things came about as a result of Clay’s beliefs, like the scene where Clay keeps his best friend from cheating on his fiancée.  But, by being so judgmental and unwilling to compromise, Clay was also intentionally shutting himself off from the world.  He was using his beliefs as an excuse to build walls and keep anyone from getting too close to him.  The movie takes its time in explaining Clay’s backstory and the events that led to him becoming so old fashioned and it turns out that Clay used to be bad even by the standards of the typical frat boy.  Trying to make up for the past, Clay has swung from one extreme to another but he’s never learned how to forgive himself or others for their mistakes.  I still had a hard time believing that Amber would have ever put up with him in the first place but it’s good that she did because Clay really needed someone to help him snap out of it.

Old Fashioned is less about how people should date and more about the importance of being willing to forgive and to accept that no one can ever be perfect.  That’s a pretty worthwhile message, especially in today’s day and age.  Forgiveness should never become old fashioned.

One response to “I Watched Old Fashioned (2014, dir. by Rik Swartzwelder)

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 2/14/22 — 2/20/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

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