Is The Vow Based On A True Story?

The love and vows before the “I Do’s” can hold a lot of strength and inspire people to prevail through the toughest situations in a marriage. Michael Sucsy’s romantic drama film, ‘The Vow,’ showcases just that. The central characters of the 2012 movie are Paige and Leo, who meet with a vehicle accident a few months into their marriage that causes Paige to lose all short-term memory. The main focus of the movie is the couple’s journey and struggles to restore the wife’s memories after the disaster.

‘The Vow’ ranked eighth among romantic drama movies released since 1980 in terms of box office revenue as of 2013. The main reason for the film’s popularity was the unwavering chemistry between Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum as the protagonists, Paige and Leo. The movie’s portrayal of the story makes it appear so authentic that one wonders if anyone has ever experienced something so traumatic in real life. Let’s find out!

Is The Vow a True Story?

Yes, ‘The Vow’ is inspired by a true story. It is loosely based on the actual relationship of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, who wrote a book about their tragic accident and marriage, also titled ‘The Vow’. After Krickitt’s recent memories were lost in a vehicle accident, her husband, Kim decides to do everything in his power to restore her to normalcy. Although the basic premise of the movie is similar, the story was almost freshly written by the screenwriters Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein, and Jason Katims. Therefore, several differences can be found between how the narrative progresses in the movie versus real life.

Krickitt and Kim Carpenter//Image Credit: Today

Interestingly, the real-life pair met over a chance business call in 1992 and tied the knot on September 18, 1993. However, their life changed 10 weeks later. Coming to the movie, Paige and Leo get into an accident while coming back from a movie theatre at a stop sign when Paige (in the driver’s seat) tries to kiss Leo. However, in reality, Kim and Krickitt Carpenter had been traveling from Las Vegas, New Mexico, to Phoenix, Arizona, to spend Thanksgiving with Krickitt’s parents. The accident happened when Krickitt, the driver, attempted to swerve around a slow-moving truck.

As the truck was following too closely on their tail, it struck the Carpenter’s automobile from behind. The dramatization of the story for theatrical effects is quite evident from the beginning. The professions of the protagonists are also changed; Kim was a baseball coach while Krickitt was a customer sales rep in a sports goods company. Krickitt’s profession had nothing to do with art or law, as the movie depicts. The troubles between Paige and Leo concerning her parents or her former fiancé, Jeremy, were also absent in the real-life couple’s life.

Kim and Krickitt had no issue with the wife’s parents as they were actually driving to her parent’s home for Thanksgiving. Another difference between the real story and the movie is the duration of time shown to be wiped out from the wife’s memory. Although in real life, Krickitt’s accident wiped out all of the 18 months of her life comprising the time she and Kim met, dated, and married, the movie describes it to be about a few years. Another major point missing in the movie but pivotal for the real-life couple is their faith in their Lord and Christianity.

Talking about her take on the situation at that time and their collective belief in God, Krickitt told Guideposts Magazine, “So all of the memory of meeting, dating, and marrying my husband was completely wiped out. But I was still married to him. And you know, I made a vow – in good times and bad, sickness and health. And I made a vow before God. And that to me was a promise to keep. So we figured we’re gonna have to figure this thing out. I mean, you know, divorce was never an option. I was going to be committed to the vow that I had made and the promise that I had made to God.”

Image Credit: Inside Edition

Kim and Krickitt, however, also agreed that it was hard to put together all the aspects of their story in 104 minutes. Although Leo and Paige have a happy ending, that is, unfortunately, not what happened in the case of the real-life pair. Yes, Kim and Krickitt did have a second wedding in 1996. However, in October 2018 — about 25 years since they first tied the knot — Krickitt told Inside Edition that they’re headed for a split. “Kim was having an affair, I never thought that was a road we would go down because I made a vow for life,” Krickitt told Inside Edition. The two also share two children: LeeAnn and Danny.

Having said that, the movie beautifully portrays the internal struggles of Paige (Krickitt) in understanding her perplexing situation and her irritation towards her husband, whom she couldn’t recognize. At the same time, Leo’s (Kim) heartfelt attempts to revive his wife’s memory as well as the struggles of the couple while facing their fears are also captured in an authentic light, punctuated by compelling performances by Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum.

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