Movie Review of The Vow
Hypothetically speaking, if you were to wake up from a coma and not remember anything about the last 4 years of your life, including the person you are married to, it would be a frightening and confusing ordeal. Of course, if the person claiming to be your spouse looked like Channing Tatum, there’s a distinct possibility you might be tempted to just go with it, although I suppose that’s simplifying the issue a bit. But if you are wondering if the storyline translates into a worthwhile movie, read on.
THE GOOD: Leo and Paige (portrayed by Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams respectively) are a cute, somewhat quirky couple who fall in love and get married in an artsy offhanded manner, and seem destined for marital bliss, until fate and slick winter roads in Chicago have other plans for them, throwing Paige through a windshield and leaving her with no memory of her life with Leo. To complicate matters even further, what she does remember is her life with her previous boyfriend, Jeremy (played by Scott Speedman), as well as her privileged life with her pretentious parents who are more than thrilled to jump into her life and try to reclaim the wayward daughter they were once estranged from. The story is based on actual events, which doesn’t always translate to great movie material, but in this case it makes for a sweet and emotional plot, that allows you to bask in the sentimentality that some people find sort of mushy. Tatum is somewhat clunky as an actor, but in this role it comes across as endearing, and you can clearly understand Paige’s attraction to Leo---he doesn’t have swagger, he’s just sweet. McAdams is, as always, the consummate professional, and leaves you hoping against hope that she will experience a medical miracle and remember her life with Leo and the independent person she had become.
THE BAD: The problem with movies like this, in my opinion, is that they tend to get built up by the media to impossible heights. For weeks before it’s release, you would see comments like “the next greatest romance of all time” or “Even more touching than ‘The Notebook’” flashed across the screen of trailer previews, which only serves to leave the audience nowhere to go but down. And don’t misunderstand me, I really liked it. I sometimes forget just how much of a sucker I am for a good “I dare you to rip my heart out and make me weep like a baby” romance until I am sitting in one. It was, for all intents and purposes, a very good film. What seemed to be lacking was a little character development, so that you really felt connected to them –especially Leo’s artsy bohemian friends who kept showing up to lend support but whom you never felt any real sympathy from. As for Paige’s loss of memory, you would have thought that seeing Channing Tatum wandering to the bathroom buck naked in one scene would have shocked her right back into her senses, as it would for most women, but clearly the damage was more severe than even doctors could predict. In any case, although I can’t in good conscience tell you that this movie won my heart over as much as movies like “The Notebook”, it certainly will earn a place on my list of movies to add to my library.
THE UGLY: Although the crash scene is arguably disturbing, and seeing McAdams character go through a window shield with such force that I almost felt nauseated, what I REALLY had a hard time stomaching was Paige’s art projects. Wow. I don’t claim to know much about sculptures, but after she lost her memory and Leo showed her all the pieces she had created before the accident, I kept waiting for her to cry out “What IS this? What is it supposed to BE?” She never did, but heaven knows it went through MY mind.
If you love romantic films where there is no guarantee of things winding up like a perfect fairy tale, you can add this one to your list of movies to see. Pack a hanky, and if you are lucky enough to have a significant other –like I do--who actually enjoys mushy love stories, take them along. It’s not a bad way to start off a romantic evening.
The Trophy Wife gives this movie 3 ˝ trophies.
The Vow has a running time of 104 minutes and is Rated PG-13 for an accident scene, sexual content, partial nudity and some language.