I first saw the trailer for The Vow in December 2011, and I literally could not wait for the movie to be released. Last night I finally sat down to watch it with great expectations, and to my surprise, and my dismay, this movie was the biggest let down in a very long time.
The Vow is inspired by true events, and is based on the book of the same name by Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, which you might recall I mentioned in my post on 20 books to read before they’re adapted into 2012 movies. It is important to note that the filmmakers took some liberties with the story, and as Hollywood quite often does, the story has been altered for the big screen.
The movie starts off with a happily married, obviously in love Paige and Leo heading home on a cold winter’s eve. At a stop Paige unfastens her seatbelt to lean over and kiss Leo, unaware that a truck is coming up behind them, unable to stop. The truck slams into Paige and Leo’s car, flinging Paige out of the windshield (this scene, it must be said, was very well done). Leo walks away with no major injuries, but Paige wakes up in the hospital days later with no recollection of having a husband. Paige’s memory of the last five years of her life has been wiped away. She wakes up to find that not only is she married to a man she can’t remember, she has completely broken ties with her wealthy family and friends, moved to the city and dropped out of law school to become an artist.
The story follows a very sweet Leo as he tries his best to help Paige regain her memory. When he ultimately starts worrying that she might never regain her memory, he sets about making her fall in love with him all over again.
Leo takes her to "their places" and even sweetly recreates their first date. He puts his whole being into making her love him. Problem is, where her mind is at Paige is still in love with and engaged to her former love, Jeremy. Paige rejects poor Leo at every turn, flirts with her ex and embraces the family she has refused to speak to for five years at Leo’s expense. She immediately steps back into her old life without much interest in rediscovering the new.
You would think this story about a man who painstakingly woos his wife would be a joy to watch. The truth is, I literally only enjoyed about the first fifteen minutes of the movie. I loved the artsy, fun Paige we meet at the beginning of the movie, falling in love with Leo. Sadly, in 75% of the movie we have to deal with the snooty rich girl Paige who treats Leo like dirt. She actually does her absolute best to ignore him. My main issue with this story is that Paige never gives Leo a chance. She doesn’t want to remember her life with him, she doesn’t even attempt to get to know him. She does go on one date with him, but to me that was more to placate him than anything else.
Don't get me wrong, I have perfect understanding for what she must have felt waking up to discover a new life that she can’t imagine being real. She’s come to be a carefree artist, married to a struggling music producer instead of the rich lawyer she remembers loving, and not on speaking terms with the family she loves. She comes home to a strange apartment in the city to a house full of strangers claiming to be her friends. Overwhelming is not the word. I get it. But Paige handles the whole situation very poorly. She never, not once gives her husband a chance. She walks away, even seeing the video of their wedding, hearing the beautiful vows they made to each other. Instead of giving her marriage a chance, Paige moves back in with her family, cancels the commission she was working on, and goes back to law school. She divorces the man who loves her so dearly.
It takes her a few months but Paige does eventually discover her reason for leaving her family (which none of them bothered to tell her about), she realizes that she hates law school and drops out again, she moves to an apartment in the city and goes back to being an artist. When she’s ready, she finds Leo and they start dating again.
I guess if you look at the silver lining, it’s really sweet that Paige and Leo fall in love twice. I even suppose it’s understandable that she had to rediscover herself on her own terms. But truthfully I am disappointed that Leo took her back! And this from me, the biggest romantic you will ever come across. I just don't like the person Paige turned into, I certainly don't like the way she treats Leo and I absolutely resent that she doesn't even give him a chance. She just walks away. And when she's ready, on her terms, she walks back into his life. My heart was breaking for Leo throughout the film, and I resented Paige’s treatment of him. I wasn’t emotionally invested in her side of the story at all.
Having said that, I would love to read the book! In an article by Fox News, the real-life couple reveals their disappointment that the movie version stripped the couple of their Christianity, when in actual fact it was “the couple’s religious belief in the unbreakable vow of marriage that [kept] them together”. In real life they did not get a divorce, and the book draws heavily on the couple’s Christian beliefs and the power of God to heal and shepherd a marriage through difficult times. Although she has not regained her memory, Kim and Krickitt are still happily married, and have two children.
|Kim and Krickitt Carpenter|