By Gary Murray 

Starring Channing Tatum, Rachael McAdams, Sam Neill and Jessica Lang


Written by Jason Katims, Abby Kohn, Stuart Sender, Marc Silverstein and Michael Sucsy


Directed by Michael Sucsy


Running time 104 min


MPAA Rating PG-13


Selig Film Rating Cable


A romantic movie almost always pops up around Valentine’s Day.  Usually they are romantic comedies where laughs and love are in equal measure.  Sometimes they run along the lines of tragic, where the obstacles of love are just too much for the protagonists to overcome.   Every once in awhile, the two film ideas blend together into a movie that has elements of sweetness and sadness.  That is where The Vow falls, right in the middle.


The story starts with a couple coming out of a theater.  Paige (Rachael McAdams) and Leo (Channing Tatum) are a young, married and very much in love.  She is an artist with a sculpture contract and he runs a recording studio. They are part of the bohemian scene of Chicago.


Suddenly, an accident happens and Paige goes through the window. After coming out of a medically induced coma, it is discovered that Paige has lost all of her short-term memories.  The last things that are in her mind are of law school, her parents and being in love with her last fiancée.  She has no memory of Leo, their marriage and all the changes the last five years brought.


Leo is devastated.  The woman he has pledged his life to thinks of him as a total stranger.  Paige thinks that it is very curious that Leo has never met her Dad and Mom (Sam Neill and Jessica Lang). There is no memory of any strife between daughter and parents.  In her mind, she is the dutiful daughter on the road to becoming a lawyer and marrying the parentally approved beau.  All of her feelings are toward this other man and not Leo.


Leo does all he can to have Paige remember.  He shows her videos of their wedding and she has no reaction.  Eventually, she moves back to her parents house and the life she had years before.  Her coming to terms with both Leo and the big scandal that drove her from the privileged life of the suburbs are the motivating factors of The Vow.


One just has to like the casting of The Vow.  Both Channing Tatum and Rachael McAdams are winning in their roles.  They look believable as both a couple and as two people in love.  There is a charm in the little moments of their relationship where he tries to win back his wife, to show her that he is her soul mate.  It is easy to believe in their love.


The problem with the film is that there is no epic struggle, no all or nothing moment.  We are never given the sense of impending catastrophe a film of this ilk needs.  The big revealing surprise of the incident between parents and daughter is not a surprise at all.  It is telegraphed to such a degree that one goes “And?” without much of a flinch.  Director Michael Sucsy has a perfect cast that he wastes on a screenplay written by a gaggle of writers without a succinct vision.   The film needed to go for broke and not just bet the minimum.


When something is ‘based on true events’, it always brings a bit of skepticism.  Technically, every movie made about WWII is ‘based on true events’ because the war actually happened.  The ending shows the real couple that the film is based on, happy with two kids.


This film is not made for me, an old white guy who is bitter about love and anything that resembles romance.  This is a film about young love, for young lovers and women.  They will flock to The Vow. I just found the entire experience like a well-acted Lifetime movie.






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