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Rachel McAdams on loving with heart and brain

MANILA, Philippines - “Are you in love with the idea of someone? Or are you in love with the fight more than the outcome?” Rachel McAdams posed this rhetorical question during our recent interview with her at the junket for the new romantic drama The Vow, which opens in theaters today.

The Vow tells the moving love story of a couple whose relationship had to endure a very difficult test when the wife lost all her memory of the husband after a tragic accident. Rachel portrays Paige, the wife, while hunky Channing Tatum, who is transitioning into an A-List actor, plays her devoted husband Leo.

The heart of the story is the struggle that Channing’s character had to go through in trying to win back the affection and love of his wife who sees him as nothing but a stranger. “I think the hardest thing about this is that ultimately no matter what you do the other person who’s lost their memory — it has to be their idea,” Rachel explained. She also noted that after researching for her role and after talking with experts on memory loss, she believes that “even if all your memories are erased, you will find your way back.”

Rachel, who was stunning in the royal blue dress she wore to the junket, added, “There’s this kernel of truth inside of you, no matter what happens to you, that you can connect with and that extends to the people that you connect to in life.”

In real life, her love life has a more ordinariness to it. Thankfully. No memory loss to worry about, just the occasional paparazzi and the curious questions posed by journalists.

The beautiful actress, who has previously dated Ryan Gosling and is now in a relationship with British actor Michael Sheen, is known to be very reserved and private in real life so our interview with her was markedly different from our session with Channing.

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While Channing was a little more candid and forthcoming — and no particular topic was off-limits to him, his The Vow co-star was more scant with the information she wanted to share with us during our roundtable interview.

This limitation opened up the roundtable to the more interesting and serious subject of the psychology of love and of falling in love that the movie brings up — and Rachel’s thoughts and ideas turned out to be just as fascinating.

Consider these questions:

Don’t people fall in love with their hearts and not with their brain?

If one meets a stranger then falls in love in the process, why can’t someone who lost her memory fall in love again with the same person even if that person is nothing but a stranger yet again? Can’t she teach herself to fall in love again?

These are some of the philosophical questions that Rachel happily shared her ideas about.

“Because there’s so much pressure to remember,” she replied to the latter question. “That clouds your ability to just be with the person. That clouds your ability to just go on and have nice easy, breezy dates and get to know each other again. There’s so much pressure. There’s so much disappointment.”

She cited one line in the movie when Paige, her character, said to Leo in surrender: “I am so tired of disappointing you and I can’t look into your eyes and see how much I’m hurting you anymore.”

When asked if she thinks it is easier for someone to fall in love with a complete stranger than with someone whom the person had a history with but can’t remember, she finished the question, supplied the last word and immediately responded, “Absolutely!”

“(The Vow) brings up a lot of interesting ideas about fate and destiny and who you are if you don’t have your memory,” she added.

But, all memories intact, can she fall in love again with the same person with whom she has fallen out of love before?

“Well, yeah. I think, in that case, you have these ties that bind, you have the past that tells you, that informs whether you can maybe make it work or not,” she replied before breaking into a short smile and said, “It’s funny how we have selective memories about those things. You break it off and then you come back and it becomes totally different than the first time. It’s selective amnesia!”

And back to the first question, does she love with her heart or with her brain?

“I think it’s both, isn’t it?” she replied but was already holding herself from cracking up because the interview has turned a bit cheesy. “I love cheesy!” she declared before she started laughing the sweet laugh that has endeared her to so many movie fans all over the world.

Our roundtable interview was punctuated by occasional bursts of laughter over some of the more philosophical and cheesier questions except for one awkward moment when one journalist from Israel dared to ask her about Michael. And how Rachel responded to the question was very cute: She just smiled.

Rachel met Michael on the set of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. They have been together ever since.

Before we let Rachel go, we had to ask her one last cheesy question that some of the more romantic people would rather believe — and her reply was a real surprise.

Could it be true that, even if we try, we can only love one person in our lifetime?

“I think that you can fall in love with maybe not hundreds of people but a handful and there is one that you want to really do that for a very long time with,” she offered and ended the interview with a smile, leaving us taken by her gentleness and charm, much like how her characters in movies usually win the heart of the men they love.

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