Boy meets girl, girl loses her memory, will boy win her heart — again? The Vow is an ardent love story, inspired by the extraordinary marriage of real-life couple Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, who managed to recover love after she lost all memory of her husband.
Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum play Paige and Leo, newlyweds who are hopelessly in love, relishing every moment together. Their lives are turned upside down however, when a tragic car accident leaves Paige with a traumatic brain injury. After weeks in a coma, she awakens to discover she has no memory of her husband. Zero. She even mistakes him for her doctor.
But not all of Paige’s memory has been erased. She remembers her life before she moved to Chicago, when she was in law school and engaged to another man, which is bad news for Leo. Paige’s controlling, repressed parents encourage her to move back home to the “life she remembers.” But Leo refuses to let the woman he loves walk away. He knows he has to make her fall in love with him again. But how?
Rachel McAdams is lovely as Paige. Those dimples, those eyes, that smile all fill the screen with the hope that true love will win out. Channing Tatum plays Leo like a boxer training for a fight — and indeed, this is the fight of Leo’s life. The scene in which he remembers the first time Paige said, “I love you,” was beautifully moving and perfectly acted. It’s nice to see him growing as an actor, finding his emotional range and not being content as mere eye-candy.
Jessica Lange plays Paige’s mother Rita with stalwart intensity, towing the line between domineering protector and matriarch who loves her family more than life itself. She knows too well that marriage is difficult and reveals a side of herself to her daughter that is painfully, yet proudly, human.
Leo does his best to make Paige fall in love with him, but ultimately, she is the one who must do the falling. Try as he might — and boy, he tries — Leo cannot do it for her. It is heartbreaking when he says, “How do you look at the girl you love and tell yourself, it’s time to walk away?” It is a circumstance you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, but makes for a great romantic movie.
Bottom line: If you’re up for a good love story with remarkable obstacles (and hottie Channing Tatum), take your girlfriends and enjoy The Vow.