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What if the woman you loved was in a car accident? And what if, suddenly, she couldn't remember you or your marriage at all? How hard would you fight to keep your wedding vows?
In The Vow-rated PG-13 for language, partial nudity, and sexual content-Leo (Channing Tatum) is faced with just those questions. When his wife, played by Rachel McAdams of The Notebook, regains consciousness, she doesn't remember anything from the last six years. And despite trying to fit into her old life with Leo, Paige quickly reverts back to what she does remember-a safe existence with her upper-middle-class parents, pursuing the law degree and fiancé she left behind years before.
But Leo won't let her go that easily. Putting the rest of his life on hold, he buys her flowers, invites her on a "first date," and endures the scorn of Paige's friends and family who view him as an outsider. The real charm of the movie is in these scenes, as Leo entices his wife with glimpses of the love they shared-their first box of chocolates, their favorite café, one of the monthly polar bear club outings they started last June. But for all his optimism, Leo soon learns that Paige isn't the same girl he married; not yet, anyway. "I hope one day I can love like you love me," Paige tells him. To which he replies, "You figured it out once. You'll do it again." But will it be too late?
Christian viewers will find The Vow refreshing in its value of the covenant of marriage. Themes of forgiveness and reconciliation are prominent, and like Christ, Leo displays a love that is fervent, gracious, and sacrificial. All the more reason for disappointment in the slightly one-dimensional plot and character development. But for many romantically inclined viewers, this film will still be a fairly innocuous treat. Better than that box of Valentine's Day chocolates? I couldn't promise it.