Vow Promises

The Vow Promises to Shed Tears and Break Hearts

To no one’s surprise, it was mayhem at the movie theaters this past weekend as women of all ages dragged their significant others to see the sappiest new release, The Vow, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

A heartbreaking story inspired by true events, the film meets the standard expectations of a romantic drama by not leaving a dry eye in the house, including my own.

Just by judging the trailer and comparing the film to similar recent releases, one would think The Vow was a Nicholas Sparks film. This is ironic, since both Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams have starred in movies based on Sparks’ books like Dear John and The Notebook, respectively.

It’s a bit sad to admit that every time I watched a preview for the film (which has been running across my television screen since November), my eyes would instantly well up. How many motion pictures really can affect you that deeply, especially in a matter of two minutes?

Tatum and McAdams star as Leo and Paige, a newly married couple who seem to have the blissful, fairytale future ahead of them when a car accident wipes away the last five years of Paige’s life, including all recollection of her husband.

She suffers a severe brain injury, waking up believing she is a student attending law school, and still engaged to a former boyfriend, Jeremy (Scott Speedman). Having to go home to her husband, who’s now a stranger, the two of them deal with immense pain and unfamiliarity. To Leo, his wife has already died because the woman staring back at him has no idea who he is.

Uncertain as to whether Paige will ever regain her memory, Leo tries to make his wife fall in love with him all over again because, as he declares, he made a vow to her on their wedding day to be together through better or worse.

Directed by Michael Sucsy, the film definitely succeeds in bringing the audience up to date on the portrayed couple. Being that the first scene in the film is where the accident occurs, I was concerned that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to see the earlier memories of the couple that brought them to their current conditions.

Alas, I was mistaken, as the moment the accident happens, we are immediately brought to the first enchanting moments of Leo and Paige, from their first encounter, their first date, and their wedding day. Once Paige wakes up in her hospital bed, misunderstanding her marital status, our hearts break because we feel Leo’s pain, and wish for that emotional connection between the two to reappear.

Throughout the entire film, I ended up feeling so terrible for Tatum’s character, and again, knowing that this was based around true events made it easier to wallow in wretchedness.

I’ve always been a fan of Tatum himself, more so his looks rather than his acting, but nevertheless, he plays a grief-stricken husband incredibly well. Furthermore, McAdams also shines in romantic dramas (i.e. The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Notebook), so there is little to say about her performance besides wonderful.

If we’re going to put a number to it, I give The Vow 4 out of 5 stars. It’s easily the romantic release of the season and captures all of the love, beauty, passion and pain the less-than-average married couple endures.

Although the details of both stories are very different (the characters names even differ from the true couple), it still brings a reality dose of this-could-happen-to-you aspect of it as you ache for Paige to remember her husband, and have that fairytale ending they were meant to have.

At 104 minutes, I wished the film was just a tad longer just to add more depth to some scenes and major plot points, but that is something to judge on your own.

As careful as I am to not ruin too many significant plot points, you must make sure to bring a package of Kleenex. I absentmindedly left that behind before I arrived at the theater, and it was a huge mistake!

After seeing this film in its entirety, I will be visiting Barnesandnoble.com to purchase the NookBook version of The Vow, written by the real-life couple Kim and Krickitt Carpenter.

Who knew that such a personal, tragic story could be turned into something so beautiful for the world to see on the silver screen?

PHOTO COURTESY of allmoviephoto.com