Movie Review: "The Vow"
Movie Review: The Vow
by Steve Eastman
Have you ever wished you could be one of those people who gets to read your favorite book for the first time? Husband Leo uses that analogy to explain to his wife — who lost several years of memory in an automobile accident — how she can enjoy the thrill of falling in love with him again.
They were married only a short time when a truck hit their car from behind, sending Paige through the windshield and into the emergency room. Leo was injured too, but not very badly. He was there when Paige awoke from a coma and had no idea who he was.
Channing Tatum portrays an extremely patient, loving husband who gives his wife (Rachel McAdams) the time and space to fall in love with him again. The last time I saw a man of such patience and love portrayed in a movie was in another McAdams film, The Notebook. Earlier in the movie Leo had mused about how our lives are shaped by our moments of impact. Now he asks what happens when you forget those moments as Paige has.
Having reconciled himself to a slow healing process for his wife, Leo faces his next shock in the same hospital. Paige’s parents want to take her to their home to recuperate. She does remember them. Although Paige eventually decides to go home with Leo, the tug of war with her parents continues throughout most of the movie.
Not only does Paige forget who her husband is, she forgets who she is. The last she can remember is attending law school, being on good terms with her parents and engaged to another man. Leo surprises her with the “news” that she had quit law school to be an artist and had not been on speaking terms with her parents for years. Paige, in effect, has reverted to an earlier stage in her maturing process. As one character commented, she used to be a Stepford wife.
As frustrating as it is to watch Paige struggle with her self-discovery (to McAdam’s credit), it is inspiring to watch how Leo handles it. He’s still the same man who included a line in his wedding vows that went something like this: if life ever pulls us apart, we will find our way back to each other. In one of my favorite scenes, he tells a co-worker, ”I’m going to make my wife fall in love with me again.” Taken out of context such a statement might seem pushy. In the context of the film, as portrayed by Tatum, it is a statement of hope and love.
The Vow makes a wonderful date for Valentine’s Day. You will remember falling in love and want to recapture the excitement of those early years. Once again, kudos to Hollywood for portraying the story of a true romantic, a man whose vow was based in love, strong enough to endure the most challenging of circumstances. And kudos to the real life man upon whom the story is based.
Listen to Steve Eastman's review.
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