Review of The Vow

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A car accident puts a woman named Paige in a coma, and when she wakes up with severe memory loss, her husband Leo works to win her heart again. Starring Channing Tatum, Rachel McAdams, Jessica Lange & Scott Speedman.
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"The Vow" Movie Review

--Rating: PG-13
Length: 104 minutes
Release Date: February 10, 2012
Directed by: Michael Sucsy
Genre: Romantic Drama

Leo (Channing Tatum) and Paige (Rachel McAdams) have been married for only a few months when, while sitting at a stop sign, they are stuck from behind by a truck. Paige had taken off her seatbelt to kiss Leo just before the truck hits them, and the impact, sends her headfirst through the windshield of the car. Both Leo and Paige are rushed to the hospital. Leo's injuries are relatively minor, but Paige suffers severe head trauma and falls into a coma. When she awakens from her coma, she has no recollection of the last few years of her life, which includes meeting and marrying Leo.

Leo is faced with the choice of ending the marriage or sticking to his wedding vows and making Paige fall in love with him all over again. He chooses the latter, because first, he loves Paige, and second, he believes in living up to the vows he made on their wedding day.

Paige, however, isn't as easily convinced. Her life with Leo is totally different from the life she remembers. She does not understand why she quit law school and ended her relationship with her former fiancé, Jeremy (Scott Speedman). She also does not remember why she was estranged from her parents Bill (Sam Neill) and Rita (Jessica Lange) Thornton and most of her friends. Because she remembers her family but not her husband, she is drawn to be with them at first, but Leo convinces her to stay with him, using a voice message she left for Leo where she sounds happy and in love. Paige agrees to stay with Leo in the hopes of regaining her memory. However, while Leo is determined to make Paige remember why she married him, Paige is trying to figure out why she left her entire life behind her. She visits Jeremy, and during their time together, she kisses him. She also senses the tension between her parents and Leo, who met Paige's parents for the first time while she was in the hospital. Paige's parents do not approve of Leo. This becomes almost painfully apparent when Bill and Rita invite Leo and Paige to dinner. Leo has a difficult time interacting with and relating to Paige's parents, and they do not relate to him either. Later, Bill even goes so far as to try and persuade Leo to divorce Paige. Leo and Paige's marriage is further strained when Leo punches Jeremy, who mocks Leo's attempts to win back his wife and announces his intentions to sleep with Paige. At this point, Paige decides to stay with her parents until after her sister's wedding. Crushed, Leo agrees to the separation and also signs the divorce papers. Eventually, Paige begins to put the pieces of the last few years of her life back together, and at the end of the movie, she and Leo are attempting to forge a new life together.

"The Vow" is based on the true story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, who wrote a book about their lives after the car accident. The movie sticks pretty close to the book, but takes some dramatic license to make the movie more appealing on the big screen. It is interesting to watch Paige put the pieces of her life back together, especially since the memories are often jolted by random events. For example, a chance encounter with an old friend causes her to remember why she was estranged from her parents, and she just happens to find the menu where she wrote her wedding vows. As she regains parts of her memory, she starts to remember how she met, fell in love with, and married Leo. She also remembers why she quit law school and why she is so drawn to art. Paige and Leo's love story is told in a series of flashbacks strewn throughout the movie, and Leo offers narration throughout.

As far as movies go, "The Vow" is a decent date movie, but most likely holds more appeal for women than men. Although it is based on a true story, there are moments in the film that seem contrived, and almost impossible to believe, even though most of the events did occur with Kim and Krickitt Carpenter. If you are a fan of movies such as "The Notebook," or you like tearjerkers and big romance movies, you will like this film.

3 out of 5 Stars