As my readers know, I have a fascination with how a written work (novel) is turned into a movie. So recently I read the memoir and watched the movie “The Vow.” Herein I offer my (very frank) thoughts.
Although I thought the book was lacking in emotional punch (see my review), the movie was so “Hollywood-ized” that it lost whatever might have made it different and interesting.
Personally, I don’t care for Channing Tatum as an actor; everything he does seems stilted and wooden. And I don’t think he’s that great looking (then again, neither was the romantic male in Safe Haven, so what’s up with these chick flicks?).
If you hadn’t read the book you might think this movie was OK but nothing you’ll remember a couple years from now. If you HAVE read the book, you might have noticed it’s not the same story.
The way the characters met and courted was nothing like the memoir (the real-life experience was unusual but not ‘exciting’ enough for Hollywood I’m guessing). The way the car accident happened was not at all accurate. One aspect of the book that I thought was really compelling was that the Carpenters were taken to different hospitals; Kim was badly injured yet LEFT the hospital AMA to get to his wife (whom he thought was dying). There was very little “hospital time” in the movie.
The months Krickett spent recuperating and relearning simple things (like how to walk) could have been compelling but were completely glossed over.
The family dynamics were completely made up for Hollywood; in actual life, both families were supportive of their efforts to rebuild their marriage.
And the most disappointing thing about the movie? It makes no mention – at all – of God or faith. I’m sure that’s a Hollywood thing. In the memoir, Kim Carpenter makes a big deal about the fact that they could not have put their marriage back together without faith (which I believe having been there/done that myself though not so dramatically). He also hammers home the fact that they did not consider divorce an option – that’s the point of the title “The Vow” – and yet there they are in the movie, signing divorce papers.
I can’t figure out why the Carpenters let this movie be associated with their story, since they were so adamant about the faith thing. Unless they hope it nudges people to pick up their book… but if so, readers may be quite surprised (or disappointed depending on what they expected).