It’s a David and Goliath story of sorts, except one where the hero is far harder to call. Whilst few film-lovers are baying to see the “Fifty Shades of Grey” film set for release Valentines Day 2015, they might be not be much roused by the other film setting itself up as competition.
“Old Fashioned”, directed by Rik Swartzwelder, wants to lure you from the godless horror of watered-down BDSM and offer instead a no-frills morality tale. As the film’s IMDB page puts it: “A former frat boy and a free-spirited woman together attempt the
impossible: an “old-fashioned” courtship in contemporary America”. It’s not entirely clear what this means we should expect. What, for example, is meant by a “free-spirited” woman? (It feels like a euphemism for something, like “loose” or “hippy”, or “inclined to dress like Sienna Miller circa 2004”). By “old-fashioned courtship” do the writers mean lots of hand-holding and clothed heavy-petting? Or do they mean a return to a world of expected female passivity where men call the shots and women just have to look hot? The tagline is “Chivalry Makes A Comeback” so maybe it’ll just be lots of scenes of men dressed as knights opening doors for women dressed as Rapunzel?
In an interview in Variety Swartzwelder (who also plays the “former frat boy”) said “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
There’s big money in this kind of moralizing (a “higher standard”!!), “God is Not Dead” another release aimed primarily at the younger end of the Christian market topped $60 million earlier in 2014. Though everyone is expecting “Fifty Shades of Grey” to be the runaway late winter hit, at least in terms of sales, “Old Fashioned” might have news for it. The only sensible response is a plea to other indie directors to give us some stellar alternatives for those dark February evenings.