The Vow

"Life’s all about moments of impact and how they change our lives forever. But what if one day, you could no longer remember any of them?"

Tools

by Britni McDonald

Let’s face it, ladies-- We’re set up for disappointment at a young age. No man can ever really live up to the Prince Charmings created by Hollywood for our visual pleasure. They're not meant to. And yet we all love to torture ourselves. Every girl, if they were truly honest with themselves, would admit they love watching sappy movies with idealistic love stories. The romantic movie experience is very unique and intimate for us. We relate on a much deeper level to the women and scenarios in these movies than any other-- the excitement of falling in love, the tremendous pain of heartbreak, or the strength of having to stand alone. We even secretly enjoy curling up with these movies in our sweats, tub of icecream in one hand, tissues in the other after a terrible break up. Ok, maybe I’m admitting too much... But it’s true. Every woman wants that Prince Charming to come sweep them off their feet in some dramatic, over-the-top way. But when we start to expect the man we actually do have in our lives to live up to all of these characters we’ve allowed to skew our perceptions of reality, there's a problem. So that’s what makes this movie so much better than the average chick flick-- It’s based on a TRUE story-- something that seems to be very rare in the romantic genre. Channing Tatum's character DOES exist! Men can and should live up to his character. So I encourage all men to watch and learn.

In every relationship, we face challenges. Sometimes in marriage, these challenges cause people to break their vows. But Leo (Channing Tatum) somehow manages to stay true to his vows when he's faced with a challenge not many can compare to-- the person he loves no longer even knows who he is.

"I vow to fiercely love you in all your forms." This line by Leo really stuck out to me-- It's a concept that seems forgotten in a society with more failed marriages than lasting ones. Like in almost every romantic movie, we focus only on the happy, butterflies in your stomach "form" and ignore the inevitably challenging "forms." Paige's (Rachel McAdams) parents' marriage was also surprisingly profound. During a critical scene, Paige's mother says, "I chose to stay with him for all the things he's done right; not the one thing he's done wrong. I chose to forgive him." It was refreshing to see a love story that was truly patient, kind, selfless, forgiving... (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Ok, ok, so how about the acting? I’ll just admit that all criticism goes out the window when it comes to Channing Tatum. He could do just about anything, and I’d say he was top notch. Fortunately, his performance in this one was genuinely pretty good. He’s always had this dumb jock kind of demeanor, but it’s part of his charm, and his humor’s always surprisingly spot on. In The Vow, his struggle was convincing. You could almost feel his pain. A big part of his appealing performance was his chemistry with Rachel McAdams, who was, as usual, cute and charming. She's probably one of the most likeable actresses out there right now, although any performance of her's since Allie in The Notebook fails to compete. The movie didn’t spend much time establishing their relationship prior to the accident, but the moments shown were some the most believable and relatable I've seen. There was one scene in particular that was so real and genuine that it has me cracking up even now thinking about it (hint: in the car, rolled up windows).

I realize I've focused more on the message of this movie than the technicalities, but sometimes that's more important and outweighs anything else. Movies are meant to be great stories, and this is one of them. What's much more powerful than this movie is looking into the true story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter-- two truly inspiring Christians. I hope people who see this movie can get past the water-downed, Hollywood-approved version of a real, inspiring story and look deeper-- acknowledging that, although rare, a love like this can exist in every relationship.

I can't end this blog without mentioning what I think to be an even better movie that portrays true love being tested and succeeding-- Fireproof. Here's a movie where the message is so strong, it outweighs any technicalities (taking into consideration it's a volunteer cast). I may write any entire blog on that movie later. Let's just say, everyone should see it.

I'm sure many of you have met your prince charming (or princess?) and have your own romantic stories to tell. I'd love to hear from you, including when your fairy tale was inevitably tested.

Poll

Which of these new Wisconsin State Fair snacks are you going to try?

  • BBQ Chicken Cone
  • Deep Fried Maple Bacon Cookie Dough
  • Reeses Funnel Cake
  • Deep Fried Racine Kringel