There’s no getting around it, the story of Old Fashioned involves a couple of characters (Clay and Amber) that couldn’t be more different, especially when they first meet.
Amber is a free-spirit who possesses an amazing spark of life within her that is winsome, full of the promise of joy and adventure, and pretty much irresistible. The screenplay for Old Fashioned describes her like this:
… mesmerizing. She is a genuine woman-child. Sensual. Spiritual. Somehow more alive than the rest of us.
And all these things are true and… yet. Amber also has a knack for hitting the road when life gets too messy and has spent most of her adult life bouncing all over the country. Out of some serious wounds and fears, she defiantly refuses to put down roots or believe in a “home” that can be safe and lasting.
Clay, on the other hand, is the polar opposite.
He’s nothing but roots. In fact, he is so rigid and locked into his theories, his ideas, and the familiar safety and comfort of his antique shop that he is nearly absent of joy and adventure.
In a strange way, Clay is someone that has become so good at “righteousness” that he’s actually on the verge of drifting away from God, the very one that inspired him to reach for virtue and integrity to begin with.
Misguided and peculiar as many of his theories are, there’s something about a person that isn’t afraid to stand against the Godless trends of the day… even if, on the surface, they are somewhat emotionally distant and—let’s just say it—boring.
So there they are, Clay and Amber, two souls clearly on opposite ends of the spectrum that still manage to be drawn to each other against all logic and odds. Why?
There’s no simple answer to that question or even to why the cliché “opposites attract” play out over and over again in movies and life both.
But, I think, in the case of our characters in Old Fashioned, it’s about need—and not on a physical level, but at a deep and genuinely spiritual one. And they recognize that need and longing in each other, even if they have a hard time communicating and making sense of it all.
Both Clay and Amber have a measure of emptiness and need something found in the other to help pull them away from the extremes of their lives toward a balanced, middle path of living that is closer to what God created them for.
It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes. (Ecclesiastes 7:18)
To be clear, by balanced, middle path I don’t mean lukewarm or passionless. And I certainly don’t mean to imply a Jerry Maguire “you complete me” kind of thing as a substitute for the reality that only in God do we find full love and acceptance. No human relationship, even the very best one, can meet 100% of our needs or come close to measuring up to what God offers.
Even so, we need and can help each other as well. That’s why God put us all in this… together.
And honestly, it applies far beyond romantic relationships. In families, friendships, churches, teams, businesses… we need each other.
Just like law and grace need each other.
Just like Clay and Amber.
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14)