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The Vow [2012] [PG-13] - 4.3.4



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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Based on a true story of a couple that was involved in a car accident and the woman (Rachel McAdams) suffered severe memory loss, forgetting the past five years of her life, including falling in love and marrying her husband (Channing Tatum). He must now work to make her fall in love with him again. Also with Sam Neill, Jessica Lange and Jessica McNamee. Directed by Michael Sucsy. [1:44]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - A man and a woman kiss passionately, they recline on the ground and continue to kiss passionately; we later see them in bed together (sex is implied and they are implied to be fully nude), the woman is face-down and her bare back is visible, and the man's bare chest is visible as the woman rests against him (a sheet covers the woman's buttocks and the man's crotch).
 A woman makes a sexual remark to a man, saying that she hears women "get preggers from doing it in cars," the man and the woman begin to kiss passionately in the front seat of a car, the woman unfastens her seatbelt and the two kiss until a truck slams into the back of the car (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details).
 A man and a woman hug, they quickly kiss until the man pulls away. A man kisses a woman's forehead (the woman is in a coma). On two occasions a man kisses and blows on a woman's fingers to warm them. A man rubs a woman's shoulders trying to calm her, he tries to tickle her and she shrieks and pulls away. A husband asks his wife if he can give her an "awkward hug" and they embrace. Men and women hug in greeting. A man and a woman walk arm in arm as friends.
 We see a man sleeping on a sofa with a portion of his bare chest is visible, and he stands up and we see his bare buttocks; the man walks into a room where a woman, wearing a bra and underwear, is surprised by the nude man and he makes a comment about the woman having seen his genitals before (we do not see his genitals). A man and a woman (the woman is wearing a bra and underwear and the man wears boxer-brief style underwear and no shirt) jump into a lake; the two laugh and the man playfully lifts the woman and they hug. A woman instructs a man to "turn around" as she lifts off her dress, we see the man peeking from between his fingers and we see the woman's bra. A portion of a man's bare chest is visible when a man applies EKG tabs to his chest. On multiple occasions we see a man shirtless and his bare chest and back are visible. A woman wears a low-cut, cleavage exposing dress.
 A woman lifts up a post-it note, it appears to be covering a condom and we see "for later" written on it; she looks at a man through a window and he smiles, the woman then lifts up a negligee, posing it in front of her (she is fully clothed) and the man smiles and she quickly puts it down. A man and a woman feed one another chocolates.
 Throughout the movie we see a husband and his wife kissing, including the following: The man (towel wrapped around his bare chest) and woman (towel wrapped around her and she is wearing a bra and underwear) kiss passionately, dropping the towels as the woman tells the man he can get to "second base" (she does not explain what that means); a man and a woman share a lingering kiss in front of a group of people (it is their wedding); a man and a woman hug and kiss and the man dips the woman slightly; a man and a woman walk arm in arm and the man kisses the woman's forehead; and a man kisses a woman on the cheek and she pulls away.
 A man plays an old voicemail from a woman, to the woman (we see the woman's parents also listening); the message is sexually suggestive and the woman says that she "needs" some time with the man and she remarks that the voicemail sounded "happy." A woman asks a man what "turns on" the man's wife, the man says tickling and the woman teases the man, implying it was kinky. A man tells another man that he will tell the other man about sleeping with the man's wife. Using a clay figurine to talk, a husband comically asks his wife to "come to bed with me" and the woman laughs. A man teases his wife, saying he is scandalized after she implied that she is going to be spending the night with the man after their first date. A woman implies that she thinks her husband has taken her to a lake so they could have sex in the car; the man laughs and tells her they are going swimming. Using a crude male anatomical term, a man tells a woman that he was "blocking" his wife for being interested in another man. A man tells another man that the man's wife had "thrown herself" at him. A woman jokes with a man that it sounds "intimate" when the man tells the woman that they share a parking zone. Three men and a woman tease a man, saying that they were surprised a woman was initially attracted to him. A woman implied to another woman that she had engaged in an affair with the woman's father but had stopped when the woman's mother found out. A woman angrily confronts her mother about her father having an affair with one of her friends (as adults) and her mother confirms that she had known about the affair and the woman shouts and storms away. A woman confronts a man about her father having an affair with one of her friends and the man says he had not told her because he did not want to interfere with her relationship with her parents.

VIOLENCE/GORE 3 - A truck slides into the back of a car, pushing the stopped car, with a man and a woman inside, through the intersection and into a light pole; we see the wreck happening in slow motion as the back windshield of the car shatters, the woman's head shatters the front windshield and she is thrown onto the hood of the car.
 We see a woman and a man being rushed to a hospital, the man is alert with his head immobilized in a neck brace and the woman is unconscious with small bloody cuts on her face; we later see the woman in a coma with a breathing tube in her mouth and small cuts on her face while a doctor explains to the man that the woman had a traumatic brain injury and they had placed her in a coma to try to heal the injury (we later see the woman recovering but with memory loss issues).
 A man punches another man, the man falls to the ground from the impact and we see a small amount of blood under his nose.
 An older man admonishes a man for not calling him or an older woman after their daughter had been in a car accident and in ICU for three weeks. A woman shouts at her husband and her parents as they tersely talk to one another. A woman cries and shouts at her husband. A husband and his wife shout angrily at one another, and the man tells the woman not to use him as a "punching bag."
 As a woman awakens from a coma, a doctor explains to her that she had been in a car accident and the woman then asks her husband (whom she does not recognize) if anyone else in the accident had been injured. A woman scowls after looking at two healing scars on her face and remarks that she looks like a "freak."
 A doctor explains to a man that his wife's traumatic brain injury is not like a "broken bone" and could manifest itself in many ways, including memory loss and erratic mood swings caused by the brain's swelling. A man tells several people that his parents had died. A man warns a woman to be careful and the woman remarks that she's not joining a cult, but she is just going to see her family. A doctor warns a woman that she might be avoiding allowing her memory to return because she does not want to relive the trauma. A man tells another man a story about how a singer allows himself to become so nervous that he almost passes out. A man tells another man that thinking about marriage makes him "dizzy." A woman jokingly asks her husband if he is going to turn into a crazy person that will strangle her with her own purse and the man laughs. A woman dramatically says that her mother is going to "kill her" after she discovers she has a tattoo. A woman teases a man, saying that he did not expect her to suffer from a traumatic brain injury. A woman crudely asks a man if he had just flatulated, and the man says, "A little" and they laugh.
 A woman jokingly slaps her sister on the arm. A man playfully throws a small plastic container at another man and they laugh. Several men and women run playfully away from two security guards that lead them out of the building. Four women laugh about how one of the women had accidentally burned off her hair with a curling iron when she was younger.
 A woman picks a piece of bacon out of her mouth after a man tells her that she does not eat meat. A woman accidentally spits a piece of candy that gets caught in her hair.

PROFANITY 4 - 1 sexual reference, 6 scatological terms, 3 crude anatomical terms, 4 mild obscenities, name-calling (fleabag, idiot, freak, zoo animal, bonehead, Stepford Wife, sweater set wearing mojito drinking sorority girl, stranger, Michael Buble, crazy stalker, hypocrite, coward, creepy, odd man out), 1 religious profanity, 11 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - Throughout the movie we frequently see men and women drinking wine at dinners, a wedding, in restaurants and bars and toasting at dinner, a man tells another man that he looks like he needs a drink and the man says he has already had "quite a few," and a man pours another man a glass of liquor and both men drink.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Traumatic brain injuries, love, regret, disappointment, life-altering changes, memories and memory loss, fidelity in a marriage.

MESSAGE - Traumatic brain injuries can be very serious. It is possible to fall in love with someone again.

Special Keywords: S4 - V3 - P4 - MPAAPG-13

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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