You already know that I love a good love story. The Vow did not disappoint. Channing Tatum (Leo) and Rachel McAdams (Paige) play an artistic couple who fall in love, get married, and then weather a horrific accident that leaves Paige unable to remember Leo or the details of their lives together. They spend the remainder of the movie trying to figure out how to piece together their marriage while attempting to build an entirely new relationship.
Channing and Rachel have incredible chemistry and give the audience something tender and authentic to experience. There were a few expletives (some that accentuated action and dialogue, some that did not) and brief nudity (disappointing), but aside from those two sticking points I was able to track with the story, empathize with the characters and overall enjoy myself.
I confess I read a few pages of the book before going to see the movie and could guess early on the two would be incredibly different. The book details the real life events of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter; from the moment they met, to the accident that took Krickett’s memory, to today becoming the inspiration for Sony Picture’s new movie, and all the details in between. It’s an easy read, well written, and had me in tears on more than one occasion (always the sign of a good book :)).
The heart of the two pieces are the same – love, love lost through unique and devastating tragedy, love re-found – but the similarities end there. Here are some observations:
I was amazed that so few details of the Carpenter’s story transferred to the story of Leo and Paige. Like almost none. The way they met, the jobs they had, the families they grew up in – almost every supplementary detail to the story was different. Obviously movies have time constraints and things are added and deleted for the sake of the movie experience. I just thought it was an interesting choice to retain so little detail from a story that was obviously incredible enough on it’s own to inspire a movie (but I digress. . . ).
The couple’s car accident is the crux of both the movie and the book because it is when Paige/Krickett loses all memory of Leo/Kim and the point from which both couples must attempt to rebuild relationship. After reading the book I felt like the movie almost glossed over the accident and physical recovery that ensued. Kim and Krickett’s accident was incredibly more serious than Leo and Paige’s. It was nothing short of miraculous that they survived at all, but to know that they both made nearly full recoveries (Krickett never regained her short-term memory) is completely astonishing.
Kim and Krickett’s faith in God is not reflected in Leo and Paige’s story. I am sure Sony Pictures made decisions to this end to give the movie wide-range appeal, but I thought it was a bummer this theme – so clearly important to the real story of the Carpenters – was excluded from the movie version.
Kim and Krickett write with refreshing authenticity and conviction. You can sense through the pages that they are regular people living what even they believe is an extraordinary story. Nothing is sugar coated. They express their frustrations, their insufficiencies, and their mistakes honestly and humbly. Their love story is one of hard work and determination in the face of almost insurmountable odds. I was inspired by the time I finished reading and filled with hope that if they can have an incredible, true, lifetime love . . . anybody can.
Great movie, even better book. I love a good love story . . . but nothing beats one that’s true :).