Warning: Spoilers Ahead!!! So feel free to come back later after you've seen this movie if you so wish :) But really, if you've seen the preview, you've seen the movie. Sorry to spoil it for you ;)
So a quick summary:
Guy (Leo) meets girl (Paige). They fall in love. They get married. They get in a car accident. Girl loses all memory of now-husband, and is put back 5 years in her mindset. Guy is devastated (obviously) and tries to win her back. Girl is totally uncooperative, because helloooo, she doesn't even know him, and the 20 year old her (that is who she is in her mind) is nothing like the 25 year old her that married her husband, and oh, in her mind, she's still engaged to her gremlin-creep-goblin of a fiancee, Jeremy. *takes a breath* So then, husband decides to stop freaking his wife out, and allows her to divorce him, after trying SO desperately to get her to fall back in love with him. Life goes on for a while. Then girl repeats what she'd done as her 20 year old self and goes through the changes in her life that led her to guy. Then after a long time apart, they run into each other at a coffee shop they'd frequented together, and decide to go out to dinner, and walk off into the snowy gloominess of life.
Oh. And she never gets those lost years back.
Okay. First things first.
What I liked about this movie:
~Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams. I love these actors. Rachel McAdams is truly one of my favorites. I just adore her. She's beautiful, she's graceful, and she's not a scandalous actress, which I have great respect for. And Channing Tatum...well, come on girls. ;)
~When Paige loses her memory, Leo is absolutely 100% determined to bring it back to her. He does everything he can to show her who she is now, in their life together. He is patient and kind. He tries so hard to bring the woman he knew back to him, and to give space to this woman he...doesn't know. And who doesn't know him. While he's completely torn apart, he holds it all together so well, and just does his best to take care of his wife, however difficult that may be.
~We learn that Paige had a falling out with her family over an affair between her father and one of her good friends. (Yikes.) After the accident, of course, she forgets that, and thus, her family gets a second chance at their relationship with her, and she embraces it (in her mind, they're still just her family; no affairs, no drama). But when she finds out about the affair, and confronts her mother, asking "Why didn't you leave him? How could you stay with him?", her mother answers: "I chose to stay with him for all the things he's done right; not the one thing he's done wrong. I chose to forgive him."
That was very powerful to me. I think that affairs are one major thing that are skirted around; and even in the church, the thought often is "there's no forgiveness for that". And yes, it would be hard, it would be nearly impossible...but God calls us to forgive the inexcusable, as he forgave the inexcusable in us. (those are so not my words. I saw it once as a saying). I found her mother's forgiveness to be a beautiful thing.
~Before the accident, Paige and Leo's relationship is precious, beautiful, sweet, so full of love that it makes your heart want to burst just a little. I love seeing that :)
Now. What I did not like (or rather, the difficult things in this movie):
~Paige doesn't remember Leo. As we've covered. And she's very uncooperative. Which, I mean, isn't really her fault. Although can I just say, that whole "If I woke up from a coma and Channing Tatum was my husband, I wouldn't question it" thing that's been going around? Yes. Yes. Yes. I mean, it's not like you wake up to this creepy guy as your husband. No. You wake up to this beautiful man, telling you he loves you, and you're all freaked out?? I'd be like "hallelujah!!"
Okay, maybe not. It'd be confusing. It'd be a bit scary. Especially since, in the past 5 years (the now lost years), Paige has undergone a major personality change. She went from being an aspiring lawyer, to an artist. A country girl (suburb girl?) to a city girl. A girl with a really freaky-looking fiancee to a handsome husband. (Sorry. I just really don't like that old fiancee of hers).
And it's very, very difficult to watch how she treats Leo now that she's back to her "old" self. Yes, she tries. Yes, she likes him. But she isn't the girl she was when she married him. And so she jumps ship. She gives up. She decides that she's not even going to try anymore.
And that sucks.
~Thus, the two get a divorce. It breaks Leo's heart to do it...this is his wife. And he has to let her go. The most touching line of the movie may have been when he said "How do you look at the girl you love and tell yourself it's time to walk away?"
Leo sticks it out till the end. He does everything possible, until there's nothing left to do. And it kind of breaks your heart to watch as he does walk away. Because that's all that he can do.
Now. My least favorite part. The part that could have changed it all. The part that absolutely would've changed probably my entire view on the movie: the ending.
Paige and Leo run into each other at the cafe. It's been months since they've seen each other. They decide to go to dinner. And that's it.
That's the end.
A few moments later you see that the couple who inspired this movie stayed married and had two children.
So it's implied that Paige and Leo get back together. But it felt as if there was no closure.
Did ya'll see Water for Elephants? At the end, it shows Jacob as he lovingly watches his wife from a distance...then, homemade-type video clips are shown of their family, pictures are shown...in that awful, terrible, traumatizing movie, there is closure. There is proof of the happy ending we all long to see.
In this, there is not. It's just this big heap of depression that ends without much redemption.
The Vow. Why this title, I was wondering last night. And then I realized. It was Leo's vow that he made at their wedding that was kept. He is a faithful man, trying to win back his wife's heart. He doesn't give up and walk away when trouble arises. He stays with her, and tries to help her back to being herself.
But alas, the vows are broken. The marriage is ended. The salt and pepper shakers are torn apart and they'll never be the same again. Or at least, Leo won't.
See, Paige's lack of remembrance of him makes this movie difficult to watch, difficult to review, difficult to really form an opinion on. Because her lack of memory is excusable. But then, you hear the true story, the story that inspired this movie:
"Kim and Krickitt Carpenter had been married just 10 weeks when a car crash robbed 18 months of memories from Krickitt. But they didn't split. For three years, they worked at rebuilding their relationship, and they renewed their vows in a second ceremony—a testament not just to sacrificial love, but to a sacred commitment.
"You make a promise before God with your wedding vows," Krickitt said. "You have to take that seriously."
The Carpenters are Christians, and they decided to live out the requirements of their faith in a really extreme way. The Vow, stripped of its real-life Christian core, is still a moving recitation of love in action, romance under fire and the gallantry of a man who would even give up his own heart for the sake of his girl. And yet the story loses something in translation. The Vow's vow is broken. And while that allows us to see the beauty of sacrificial love, we miss out on an equally important part of love—unflagging commitment. "
~taken from PluggedIn's review of The Vow~
I can't help but think that the real life story is significantly more romantic than the movie version, which makes me think "Why didn't the script writers, directors, whoever, just go with the original story?". The couple stayed together, and worked at their relationship...they took their vows seriously. Even though Krickitt couldn't remember the love that she and Kim had...she "vowed" to stick with her vows to him...and he did the same. They took it seriously, that they had entered that covenant before God. Their story is truly beautiful.
But I've learned that when God is involved, when He is given place in any and every situation, the most tragic and difficult of stories can have a beautiful ending... and usually, they do.
Unfortunately, as we all know, Hollywood doesn't quite invite God into their stories. The underlying theme in any movie nowadays is that we don't need Him...we don't need His help, His love, anything. We are self-sufficient creatures, and we do just fine on our own.
Well, I don't do just fine on my own. And I know that if I were to be in a situation like this one portrayed in The Vow, God would be the only one to get me through it. And it would seem that he played the most vital part in getting Kim and Krickitt through it...something that the producers of this movie forgot to include.