In case you weren’t aware, there is this little holiday coming up this weekend called Valentine’s Day. It is a day that is supposed to be romantic and filled with boxes of chocolate, sappy cards, and romantic love.
Often the romantic love is expressed by taking your loved one on a special date involving a dinner at a fancy restaurant and maybe a romantic movie afterward.
Moviemakers know that dinner and a movie is the typical Valentine’s Day date. That is why they release so many romantic movies during this time of year. That is also why Focus Features chose to release Fifty Shades of Grey this weekend.
Fifty Shades of Grey is a movie that is obsessed with sex. Some reviewers have said that around one-fifth of its runtime is dedicated to showing sexual encounters. Aside from sex and what the MPAA calls “graphic nudity,” the film depicts BDSM (bondage and discipline/dominance and submission).
This movie is being marketed as a new take on romance and people, including Christians, are breaking records with advance ticket sales.
But there is an alternative. Skoche Films has produced the film Old Fashioned and is marketing it as the “anti-50 Shades of Grey.” I have watched this film and it is not a bad film. While it earns its rating of PG-13 for drinking and frank discussion of past sexual encounters, it shows the power of the gospel in the lives of believers and unbelievers alike. The characters are real. They are stubborn and quirky and awkward, but also endearing.
While Old Fashioned isn’t exactly a groundbreaking movie, it is definitely playing in the sand box forgotten by Hollywood. Old Fashioned highlights courtship and authentic romance that is born out of respect and admiration, not deriving sexual pleasure from dishing out humiliation and pain on another person. Old Fashioned shows that people are messy and in need of the gospel, and that the gospel can bring peace into the insane asylum we call life.
I won’t bother listing the many ways the films are different. But I will draw one contrasting idea that should guide any couple choosing what movie to watch this weekend. One movie teaches men how to find fulfillment in dominating his woman while teaching her how to find pleasure in submitting to his abuse. The other movie shows that purpose, joy, and fulfillment are only found in the gospel, and that it is not something experienced once and forgotten. It is a treasure trove of meaning and purpose that is meant to be revisited every day, in every situation. Seeing that idea alone is worth more than the price of admission.