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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

The Vow

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams star in "The Vow."
Poor Channing Tatum! Though he isn't gone, he is forgotten in "The Vow" (Screen Gems), director and co-writer Michael Sucsy's well-intentioned but flawed love story based on real events.

Tatum plays Chicago recording engineer Leo, whose romance with — and marriage to — artist Paige (Rachel McAdams) have made him a happy man. That all changes, however, when a car accident injures them both, and leaves Paige stricken with partial amnesia.

She awakens from a coma with no memory of their idyllic courtship or successful life together. Instead, she has mentally reverted to her pre-Leo days as a law school student engaged to go-getter ex-fiance Jeremy (Scott Speedman).

When her estranged parents, Rita (Jessica Lange) and Bill (Sam Neill), appear on the scene, it develops that Paige also has lost all recollection of the traumatic events that led her to separate from them.

Leo sets out to win Paige's heart all over again. But Rita and Bill are angling to put their bewildered daughter back on the path to a legal career and drive her back into the arms of conventionally respectable Jeremy.

As penned by Sucsy in collaboration with Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein and Jason Katims, this romantic drama certainly celebrates Leo's extraordinarily determined marital fidelity. And it manages to strike a generally amiable tone as it does so.

But characterizations are shallow: Mildly bohemian Leo, for example, takes on his conniving 1-percenter in-laws, who we know must be evil because they, um, occupy an Architectural Digest-worthy home in Lake Forest.

The tale's credibility — and therefore its impact — is also undercut by the excessive cuteness of the initial relationship between Leo and Paige. They're shown popping chocolates into each other's mouths and they later write out their self-composed wedding vows on menus from their favorite eatery.

Presumably in a nod to Paige's profession, those promises are exchanged, not in a church or even at city hall but in a museum gallery. A friend of the bride and groom's, who has somehow gotten himself temporarily vested with the necessary power by the state of Illinois, presides.

The film contains brief nongraphic marital lovemaking, a premarital situation, fleeting rear nudity, an adultery theme, numerous sexual references and jokes, at least one use of profanity as well as a couple of rough and about a half-dozen crude terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.



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Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi: Mystical ecstasy is the elevation of the spirit to God in such a way that the person is aware of this union with God while both internal and external senses are detached from the sensible world. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi was so generously given this special gift of God that she is called the "ecstatic saint." 
<p>She was born into a noble family in Florence in 1566. The normal course would have been for Catherine de' Pazzi to have married wealth and enjoyed comfort, but she chose to follow her own path. At nine she learned to meditate from the family confessor. She made her first Communion at the then-early age of 10 and made a vow of virginity one month later. When 16, she entered the Carmelite convent in Florence because she could receive Communion daily there. </p><p>Catherine had taken the name Mary Magdalene and had been a novice for a year when she became critically ill. Death seemed near so her superiors let her make her profession of vows from a cot in the chapel in a private ceremony. Immediately after, she fell into an ecstasy that lasted about two hours. This was repeated after Communion on the following 40 mornings. These ecstasies were rich experiences of union with God and contained marvelous insights into divine truths. </p><p>As a safeguard against deception and to preserve the revelations, her confessor asked Mary Magdalene to dictate her experiences to sister secretaries. Over the next six years, five large volumes were filled. The first three books record ecstasies from May of 1584 through Pentecost week the following year. This week was a preparation for a severe five-year trial. The fourth book records that trial and the fifth is a collection of letters concerning reform and renewal. Another book, <i>Admonitions</i>, is a collection of her sayings arising from her experiences in the formation of women religious. </p><p>The extraordinary was ordinary for this saint. She read the thoughts of others and predicted future events. During her lifetime, she appeared to several persons in distant places and cured a number of sick people. </p><p>It would be easy to dwell on the ecstasies and pretend that Mary Magdalene only had spiritual highs. This is far from true. It seems that God permitted her this special closeness to prepare her for the five years of desolation that followed when she experienced spiritual dryness. She was plunged into a state of darkness in which she saw nothing but what was horrible in herself and all around her. She had violent temptations and endured great physical suffering. She died in 1607 at 41, and was canonized in 1669.</p> American Catholic Blog Let us never tire, therefore, of seeking the Lord—of letting ourselves be sought by him—of tending over our relationship with him in silence and prayerful listening. Let us keep our gaze fixed on him, the center of time and history; let us make room for his presence within us.

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