The Vow (2012)

Rated PG-13. V -2; L -1; S/N -3. Running time: 1 hour 44 min.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self…
1 Corinthians 13:4a (Peterson’s The Message)

Paige and Leo in their car a moment
before the truck rear-ends them.

2012 Screen Gems

Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams are a charming pair as Leo and Paige, newly weds whose idyllic relationship is interrupted when a truck rear-ends them, and the severely injured Paige is in a coma for several weeks. When she wakes up, she does not remember recent events, neither her marriage to Leo, nor her vocation as a talented artist. She does recall her parents(Sam Neill and Jessica Lange), and her ex-fiance (Scott Speedman), though not the details of her breaking away from their domineering presence.

Leo, who watched over and cared for her during her coma is faced with a challenge—how to woo her back when she considers him an unwelcome intruder into her life. And then there are the parents, to whom she turns after being released from the hospital, both eager to reconnect with her and decidedly hostile to their son-in-law. A further complication is the ex-beau, also eager to have a second chance in winning her love.

Based on the real-life story of a New Mexico couple, Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, this is a film aiming for your heart-strings. Lots of humorous and tender moments in this feel good film, and a good opportunity for viewers to explore the important role of memory in determining who—and whose—we are. related to this is the theme of the vow—how binding is it if we do not remember making it?.

For Reflection/Discussion

1. Given that such a movie idealizes a situation, how would you describe Paige and Leo when you first see them? What apparently has been her relationship with her parents, given that they are not present at the wedding in the art gallery?

2.Do you see the parents rushing in to shelter her after she is released from the hospital as a mixture of love and control? How is this often the case in our relationships? Compare their family love with the agape love that the apostle Paul describes. How or why is this difficult for parents to achieve in regard to their children—beginning when the child is an infant learning to walk and do other tasks once performed by the parents?

3. Think over your own relationship with a spouse or someone close to you: how is this defined by memories of the past? Could this be the basis for the old saying, “Forgive and forget” ? Note that in times of stress when divorce looks like a desirable option, one or both of the opposing partners brings up cherished memories of how the two faced bad and good times together, and so strove harder for reconciliation.

4. How is memory important in the Jewish/Christian faith? Go to the on-line Bible at http://www.devotions.net/bible/00bible.htm and enter “Remember” in the word search engine, the result being “286 matches.” Note that at the conclusion of the Noah’s Ark story God even gives the people a memory aid, the rain bow—and in the New Testament also at the Last Supper. What does Jesus say to his disciples in regard to sharing the bread and the wine? Check out the Psalms and note how often the events surrounding the Patriarchs and of the Exodus are recalled. How do these define the people of faith?

5. How would you answer Leo’s question expressed in the narrative? “Life’s all about moments, of impact and how they changes our lives forever. But what if one day you could no longer remember any of them?

6.. What events defined Paige and Leo as a couple? How must they experience/create new events for new memories if they are to continue their relationship?

7. In the Hebrew/Christian Scriptures a vow is not only sacred but considered irrevocable, having in a sense a life of its own (See the sad story of Jephthah and his daughter in Judges 11:25-35). How is this true also for Leo? How does this sustain him? 8. What about Paige: if she cannot remember making the vow, does it still hold for her? How is what she does at first an example of our individualistic culture rather than that of the Biblical world? What place do vows hold in your life?

9. How does Leo keep the pledge he made at their wedding: “I vow to fiercely love you in all your forms, now and forever. I promise to never forget that this is a once in a lifetime love” ? How did you feel at the end of the film, especially when you read the postscript revelation?