Valentine’s weekend at the multiplex will be Grey vs. Clay. Exploitation vs. innocence. “Unusual behavior” (why the MPAA’s rated “Fifty Shades” R) vs. thoughtful behavior. And a new trailer from Old Fashioned, aimed squarely at Fifty Shades of Grey, hopes to influence the outcome.
“This Valentine’s Day,” says the trailer, “leave the door open to two souls who take the time to discover not manipulation but healing.” “Sexy corporate mogul” appears onscreen and a red line strikes through the words. Scenes then contrast the opposing stories: fantasy wealth and a contract to inflict pain . . . or two down-to-earth, relatable people with failed romances, now finding their way to real love.
“It surprises me, honestly—in a culture claiming to advance female independence and equality—that so few powerful voices raise questions about ‘Fifty Shades,’” said Nathan Nazario, producer of Old Fashioned. “Behind the rating euphemism ‘unusual’ lies a crippling cultural fear or unwillingness to say any act is potentially harmful.”
Rik Swartzwelder, Old Fashioned writer, director, and lead actor (playing Clay Walsh) questions Fifty Shades long-term effects. “What happens when ‘harmless fantasy’ plays out in the real world—in young lives unsure of what lasting love looks like, much less how to get it?” he asks. “Unquestionably, the stories our culture lifts up influence young audiences.
“It’s not about boycotting or creative restrictions,” Swartzwelder added. “Audiences merely deserve a choice, an alternative view of love and romance—something more than objectification.”
Swartzwelder’s script sprang from conversations with fellow singles, he says, struggling to pursue “God-honoring” and long-term love in a world fixed on short-term pleasure. For Swartzwelder, Valentine’s Day weekend comes down to a question. “In your heart,” he asks, “what do you want to believe about true love?”
In other news, Pure Flix, the studio behind the God’s Not Dead blockbuster, acquired Old Fashioned home entertainment rights. “We partner with movies that stand for more than the latest bestseller,” David A.R. White, Pure Flix Entertainment co-founder said. “Old Fashioned can expect strong interest because it taps into a universal human longing.”
The Old Fashioned soundtrack, facing a Feb. 10 release, comes via Milan Records, a label distributed through Warner Music Group. The album features titles by Roz Bell (Feel Like Home), Josh Schicker (No Place Like You), Fred Haring (Ain’t Where I Used to Be), Scott Krippayne (While The Days Are Young) and many more. Kazimir Boyle’s original score, a blend of minimal and orchestral pieces, accompanies the characters’ journey of discovery. For more information about Old Fashioned, please visit OldFashionedMovie.com.