THE VOW – Does Love Conquer All?



From Nathan J. Clarkson, Homeschool Movie Club Reviewer & Blogger

This weekend, I had the opportunity to see the new romantic drama, “The Vow,” staring Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Jessica Lange, and Sam Neil. This movie will be coming out this Friday, February 10.

I have to admit, I walked into the packed theater full of people, with my expectations already set.

I could foresee a sweet, and cliche movie I had seen before many times in different skins, and would no doubt see repackaged again for Valentine’s Day.

But as the opening credits appeared and the movie began, I quickly found out that this movie would pleasantly surprise me, and destroy my preconceived ideas (Not to say it was without its classic love story scenes ex. our male protagonist in the rain, etc..). But as the story began to unfold, I found myself immediately drawn in.

I was drawn into the love story between Leo (Channing Tatum) and Paige (Rachel McAdams), a young couple, whose lives are suddenly shattered by horrific car accident.  Leo escapes with only scratches but Paige has the last five years erased from her memory, causing her to forget their relationship, marriage, and even their first date.

Consequently, this is not your typical girl meets “guy and falls in love” formula, but rather girl meets guy, falls in love, then girl forgets ever meeting guy.

Without giving away too much, we watch as Paige struggles to find out who she is, how to deal with waking up being married to a man she feels is a stranger, and we also see  Leo’s struggle as he fights with everything he has to hold on to the woman he loves and regain her trust.

What surprised me about this movie was how different it seemed to be from your classic romantic film. In most of the classics, I feel we are let in on the very smallest and often the most unimportant part of the relationship. We usually watch as two people meet, fall in love and as my mother would say “Become twitter-pated with each other.” Then, the screen fades to black, the credits roll, the movie ends, and we never see what it takes to “live happily ever after.”
But what is “happily ever after”?  Where does the love story really end? What happens when anger, fear, disappointment – the norms and challenges of daily life kick in?  Does “The Feeling” goes away? What happens when the relationship is hard and can only survive if fought for?
The Vow begins where almost all love stories end.   In this culture of immediate gratification and “Doing what we feel” I think we rarely get a realistic picture of what love is, its challenges, and what it takes to continuously nourish and commit to your partner.  Everyday on tv and in the headlines we are constantly inundated with splits, separations, and divorces.  Half of all marriages end in divorce.  It has become a sad and depressing norm.

It’s ironic- we are a culture that so desires love stories, and we will pay millions to go and watch them onscreen, and yet after all this time  some people still don’t know how to actually live out a loving relationship?
That is why THE VOW was so refreshing to see because it actually portrayed a realistic depiction of what a love story and a marriage should.   Our protagonist is a man who is up against every conceivable challenge and yet his goal is simple – to love his wife, fight for her, and honor their marriage vows.

I had an opportunity to discuss this film’s message and the value of love with stars Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum. Mr. Tatum expressed his regret and disappointment in the state that marriage and commitment is in today, “I don’t think people go at it in the right way anymore, it’s such a culture about RIGHT NOW, you know?  Things that are supposed to bring us together (he points to the closest cell phone), just make us further apart.”

I respect what Channing said, and wholeheartedly agree, I don’t think people go at it the right way anymore, and we have become a culture of “right now.”  What happened to love being patient and kind?  What happened to understanding, loyalty, and devotion?  Do we as a society still have what it takes to hold on to and fight for lasting love?

Watching, THE VOW which is inspired by the true story of Kim and Krickett Carpenter gives me hope.  They are the Christian couple whose experience and love story made this movie possible.  I wish the movie explored their faith a lot more, but overall I think the movie is a beautiful picture of what real love should be – that despite any obstacle, through disappointments, anger and the feeling of defeat – one should never give up on their marriage, on their partner – on love.

THE VOW opens in theaters nationwide on this Friday, February 10.


Nathan J. Clarkson is a movie fan, writer, and critic for Homeschool Movie Club.