The Vow, starring Rachel McAdams (Time Traveler’s Wife) and Channing Tatum (Stop-Loss), grossed $85 million since its Feb 10 release, beating out Safe House and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island for first place at the box office.
In this screenplay-adapted drama directed by Michael Sucsy (Grey Gardens) an idealistic marriage careens into a bleak future on a snowy Chicago evening.
Paige and Leo Collins (McAdams and Tatum) are returning home after date night—Meatloaf blares on the stereo; sappy, newlywed bliss permeates the air. Just as the two lean in for an intimate moment, a truck slams into the back of their vehicle. An unbuckled Paige ricochets through the windshield headfirst. Her body lands lifeless on the hood of the car while Leo miraculously survives the impact with minor injuries.
When Paige regains consciousness she has severe amnesia and no recollection of the past five years of her life. Her husband is now a complete stranger, while her previously estranged parents are lovingly embraced.
In the second act, Paige attempts to bridge the gap between two worlds—a life of independence and a life of acquiescence to parental control. Beckoned from all sides by well-meaning individuals, Paige must dig deep to uncover her true place. Does she choose Leo who struggles to uphold his vow to “love Paige in all her forms,” or a manipulative ex-fiancé who seeks a reunion?
The Vow imparts a profound message—when the world outside does not make sense; one must go within to find the path home.
The Vow is based on the true story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, who were nearly killed in an automobile accident in late 1993. Due to massive head injuries, Krickitt lost her memory and was not able to recall her 10-week-old marriage to Kim. Undaunted, Kim remained true to his vow, supporting his wife and praying for the day they would reconcile. The incident garnered nationwide attention. The Vow, the book co-authored by the couple, outlines their extraordinary experience.
Screenwriters Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein pander to a secular audience by stripping the film of the religious overtones found in the book. This move diminished the inspirational premise that united the couple.
McAdams and Tatum deliver charming performances despite lackluster dialog and cursory development. A bevy of long, languid looks with backdrops of meaningless music forces the audience to fill in the details of the character’s meanderings.
At times Paige’s indecisiveness came across as contrived and artificial. Instead of creating intrigue, this seemed to merely add confusing plot twists.
On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being a must-see-flick, The Vow scores 2.5—you might stay through to the final scene, but you will definitely skip an encore. Check out local listings to catch The Vow in theaters near you.