When a romance movie is based on a nonfiction book, and when books tend to be better than the movie version, one would expect the book to be as gushingly romantic and heartwarming as they come. Such is not the case with The Vow.
To be fair, I went against my normal ‘Movie vs. Book’ review ways and saw the movie before reading the book. (Usually I force myself to wait to see the movie until I read the book.) That being said, I wasn’t a big fan of either the movie or the memoir.
Admittedly, they tell an amazing true story of a recently married man and woman, Kim and Krickett Carpenter, who get into a horrific car accident. Krickett suffers from a severe head injury which causes her to forget the past year-and-a-half of her life. Unfortunately for her husband, Kim, that year-and-a-half is the same time period when the couple met, dated, fell in love, and got married. Suddenly, Krickett does not remember who her own husband is. Through all the therapy, Kim decides not to fix his marriage, but to recreate it by making Krickett fall in love with him all over again.
It is such a beautiful story, and the fact that it’s true makes it even better. That’s why, after reading the book, I had a lot of problems with the movie, which stars Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams. The movie fabricates much of the story by creating odd and mostly unbelievable subplots. For instance, in the movie, Rachel McAdams’ character hadn’t spoken to her parents or high school boyfriend in years, so when she recovers from the accident and wants to be with her parents, it’s odd. Channing Tatum’s character is forced to not only make his wife fall back in love with him; he also must remind her why she hasn’t spoken to her family in years.
The book, which is written by Kim Carpenter himself, includes nothing about this — because that wasn’t the case at all. Krickett had a very healthy relationship with her parents, who were supportive throughout the whole ordeal. Despite what the movie makes you think, there was also no point in time when Krickett almost got back together with her ex-boyfriend.
That’s not to say the book doesn’t have its own issues. Because it’s written by Kim Carpenter — who’s not an author — the story is told very clinically and leaves out much of the expected romantic details and emotion. Instead, it focuses on Krickett’s recovery and the couple’s faith in God. But he also gets rather preachy toward the end, emphasizing the importance of believing in God.
While the book excludes some of the true emotion between Kim and Krickett, the movie falsifies and fabricates much of the story. After reading the book, the movie seems unbelievable — the opposite of what you’d want after watching a movie based on a true story.