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‘The Vow’ shows sanctity of marriage

By Sister Helena Burns FSP | Contributor
Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Vow” — which was filmed in Chicago — is based on the true story of a wife who was in a car accident and had some of her memory erased — namely the time frame of meeting her husband and their subsequent marriage. The question is will she be able to fall in love all over again with the man she married?

There is now a book by the same name about the Christian couple who went through this experience. The book keeps all the Christian references while the movie expunges every last one. In one way, without any religion, the film shows that marriage is a natural institution, that human beings know that the vows we make to each other are sacred things.

This extremely unique situation has a further twist to it: Before her marriage and accident, Paige (the fine actress Rachel McAdams) was a wealthy, preppy, “left-brain” gal engaged to a wealthy, preppy, left-brain guy. But something caused her to reinvent herself.

She cut herself off from her family, quit law school, moved downtown, went to the Art Institute and became a successful sculptor. In her new “right-brain” life, she met a fellow artistic type, Leo (the fine actor Channing Tatum) and married him.

After the accident, Paige is willing to give life with Leo a go, mainly because the doctor told her that carrying out her “usual routine” could help her get her memory back (the last thing she remembers is law school and being engaged to Jeremy).

Leo, of course, is suffering tremendously because of this strange estrangement. He is madly in love with Paige. She knows it and feels bad, but she not only doesn’t remember Leo, she doesn’t remember anything about her re-invented self. She feels much more comfortable back at her parents’ home and with her old friends, including Jeremy.

In “The Vow,” the dialogue is fresh and unexpected. There are many ways to say “I love you” (the sign of a well-told love story), feelings are not equated with love, love is not equated with sex, the whole person is taken into account in a highly civilized manner, nothing is cutesy or trite. The exposition is hidden and well seeded throughout the film.

“The Vow” is a lovely love story with mostly healthy, reverent male-female relationships, with even an emphasis on needing time alone, unattached, to be ourselves and find ourselves before we can truly make a gift of ourselves to another.