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Movie Review | The Vow

The Vow is based on the real-life story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, who had been married for 10 months when they were in a horrific car accident in New Mexico. Kim escaped relatively unscathed, but Krickitt has to be rushed by helicopter to a different hospital. When she woke up, the doctors and Kim found that she had an 18-month gap in her memory, and could not remember meeting nor marrying Kim. Kim had the difficult job, then, of making his wife fall in love with him all over again, and this is what Channing Tatum tries to accomplish in The Vow.

Paige (Rachel McAdams, Midnight in Paris) and Leo (Channing Tatum, Haywire) live in Chicago, and are very much in love. They are leaving a movie theater one snowy night when they stop at four-way intersection to share a brief kiss. Soon, however, their world is shattered; a semi-truck, sliding on the slippery roads, crashes into their car, and it is thrust forward and slams into a pole. Paige, who had unbuckled her seatbelt, is thrown through the windshield, and lands on top of the car. After both Paige and Leo arrive at the hospital, Leo soon recovers; however, the doctors choose to keep Paige in a comatose state since her brain has a lot of swelling.

When Paige wakes up, she has no memory of the last four years of her life, including Leo, her husband. The last she can remember is being engaged to her ex-fiance, Jeremy, and being a law school student; the current Paige is married to Leo and is an artist, working on sculptures for the Chicago Tribune office. Paige had a falling-out with her parents and sister, which she had told Leo about, but she doesn’t remember any of this; after trying to live with Leo and becoming frustrated, she moves back home with her family. Leo must try to make Paige fall in love with him again, since she still has feelings for her ex, and show her how in love they were before the accident.

This story is definitely an interesting one, more so because it’s based on something that happened in real life, but unfortunately the script in The Vow is often slow-paced and stilted. Tatum and McAdams have undeniable chemistry, and are pleasant to watch on-screen; I just wish that the movie could have been more well-written. Jessica Lange (TV’s American Horror Story) and Sam Neill (The Hunter) have supporting roles as Paige’s parents, who are hiding a secret from her; there is a reason she cut them out of her life and moved from the Illinois suburbs to the city four years previous.

Maybe see this movie. I was going to give it 2.5 stars out of 5, but the fact that it’s based on a real story, and tries to stay true to that, bumps it up to a 3. The story is definitely a romantic one, and I have a feeling this is why it’s being released on the weekend before Valentine’s Day; if you’re looking for fluffy date-night fare, this would fulfill that. However, the movie itself could have been better, though this is not due to the quality of the acting; indeed, if the film had chosen less talented actors to play Paige and Leo, I probably would not have been able to recommend it at all.

The Vow is currently in theaters, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 104 minutes.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Liz is our regular movie reviewer and writes for her film blog (Yes/No Films) and book blog (Books I Think You Should Read), as well as Examiner.com and CBS Detroit. You can follow her on Facebook and on Twitter.