The Vow parents guide

The Vow Parent Review

For those who appreciate a little love and tenderness, along with displays of respect for the promises of marriage, this is one movie to which you may want to say, "I do."

Overall B+

Leo (Channing Tatum) waits anxiously for his wife (Rachel McAdams) to come out of a coma caused by an automobile accident. But when she does awake, she has no memory of their marriage or life together. So the devoted husband decides to try and make her fall in love with him all over again.

Violence B-
Sexual Content C
Profanity C+
Substance Use B-

The Vow is rated PG-13 for an accident scene, sexual content, partial nudity and some language.

Movie Review

Some couples go to great lengths to “rediscover each other,” but for Leo and Paige (Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams) this is not an optional activity. It is a necessity. Married and madly in love, the pair was content with all life had given them until a ride home from the theater one snowy night changed everything. While waiting at a stop sign on a quiet street, a road maintenance truck barrels into the back of their car and sends Paige, who had unbuckled her seatbelt just moments earlier, through the windshield and into a coma. (The depiction of the accident, while not especially explicit, may still be bothersome for some.)

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Leo’s momentary joy at the sight of Paige finally opening her eyes is quickly replaced by fear when he discovers she has no idea who he is. It seems the brain injury his wife sustained has wiped her memory of the past few years and their life together. Now Paige’s only recollections are of the way things were five years ago, when she was a law student and engaged to another man. Taking advantage of the situation are her parents, (Sam Neill and Jessica Lange). Happy she cannot remember why she wasn’t speaking to them, they step back into her life hoping to convince her to return to her childhood home and earlier career aspirations. Her former boyfriend (Lucas Bryant) is also eager to reconnect.

Parents with teens seeking a little romantic screen time should note that although intimate relations occur between married characters, these depictions do include kissing, embracing, and implied sexual activity (the couple is seen removing each other’s shirts before the scene fades to a shot of them in bed together with carefully positioned sheets). McAdams is shown in her underwear a couple of times. And the director shows off Tatum’s muscular build by displaying his bare chest on numerous occasions, and his naked posterior once. Other concerns are portrayals of social drinking and infrequent profanities (mostly scatological curses and terms of deity).

Otherwise heartwarming and not unduly sentimental, The Vow fulfils its purpose even with a dangling plot hole (why is there a lack of money when there should be an obvious insurance payout?) and unjustified motivations for some characters’ choices. Yet for those who appreciate a little love and tenderness, along with displays of respect for the promises of marriage, this is one movie to which you may want to say, “I do.”

Directed by Michael Sucsy. Starring Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Sam Neill. Running time: 103 minutes. Theatrical release February 10, 2012. Updated

Get details on profanity, sex and violence in The Vow here.

The Vow Parents Guide

What aspects of this story create romance? How can couples find ways to refresh their relationship—without resorting to a car accident?

In this movie, the loss of memory leaves a woman feeling she has had five years of her life wiped away. Have you ever wished you could undo a part of your past? In reality, whether you remember or not, is it possible to completely walk away from anything?

This movie is based on a real life couple in New Mexico, Kim and Krickitt Carpenter. Their story has been told several times, including a Peoples Magazine article and a self-authored book. You can view a news story about them here: