February 10, 2012
Review - " The Vow " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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Directed by : Michael Sucsy
Starring : Channing Tatum, Rachel McAdams, Jessica
Lange, Sam Neill, Scott Speedman, Jessica McNamee,
Wendy Crewson, Tatiana
I am a romantic through and through; and some days I
need a sappy, overly-cliched chick-flick to remind me that
love is all around in this cynical world that we live in. Is
there anything wrong with that? I hope not. Loosely based
on a true story, The Vow follows the life of a woman who
comes out of a coma with no recollection of her married
"The Vow" has three things going for it: likable starring
actors, a director who knows how to stay away from
saccharine-sweet sentimentality and a compelling story.
The Vow's biggest assets are Rachel McAdams and
Channing Tatum. She has the kind of angelic face and
sweet personality that makes it easy to fall in love with her.
Tatum brings both a rough physicality and surprising
vulnerability to the role. They make it easy to root for this
couple to stay together.
Recording engineer Leo (Tatum) and adorable artist
Paige (McAdams) had a cute romance, quirky wedding
and four happy years together before a car crash
changed everything. Leo only has minor injuries, but
Paige has lost some five years of memories. Crucially, she
has no idea who Leo is. And she doesn't remember
turning her back on her law course, smirking fiance
(Speedman) and wealthy parents (Lange and Neill).
They're all she remembers now, so Leo tries to remind her of who she became after she left them behind. If they'll let him.
Grounded in real life, the plot resists being forced into a standard movie structure, although the screenwriters try their best.
Fortunately they have two extremely offbeat actors in the lead roles: Tatum plays Leo like a dork with a heart of gold (and the
waxed, muscled chest of a stripper), while McAdams plays Paige as a sexy, strong-willed woman who's perplexed by the
tattoo on her back and by Leo saying that she's a vegetarian. The tensions between Paige's old and new lives are effectively
played, with strong contrast between the buttoned-up opulence of her Lake Forest family and the eclectic, loose cosiness of
her spacious inner-city loft.
Michael Sucsy uses an even hand in directing the romantic elements. He doesn't push the romance with overly orchestrated
music or fancy filmwork. He's confident enough in his direction to allow scenes to play out at a pace that gives the audience
time to get to know these people. He even manages to stage the car crash sequence, which sets the story in motion, in a
poetic manner rather than go for the shock value. There are a few romance-film mainstays in the film, but generally it has a
fresh, sweet tone.
I will say there were definitely some
sappy parts that did not tug at my
heart strings, although I did hear many
people weeping in the movie theatre.
But all-in-all The Vow was a sweet
romance that I hope can teach people
an important lesson – allow the person
you love to be who they are, no matter
what. It's the struggle to rekindle a love
that once burned brightly that grabs
our hearts. "The Vow" is a reminder of
how beautiful it is to fall in love - even
if it is for a second time.