What do you get when a script falls between Channing Tatum (the fella from Dear John) and Rachel McAdams (You know the Notebook?) that involves romance, amnesia and a whole lot in between? You get The Vow.
Surprisingly (well not really because you have to make that judgement for yourself) The Vow received a heavy beating by other reviewers calling it all the names under the sun however, I don’t see why. When amnesia is the main subject of a film, it’s usually very predictable with us leaving the cinema with the state of mind that “we’ve all seen this before”, but with The Vow, it was more about love dying before the person and learning and earning the value of love when it’s lost. The fact that it was inspired by true events and a glimpse of the real couple at the end was a nice touch.
Tatum and McAdams play the cute “so in love” couple Leo and Paige, who we learn via flashback, has the relationship that everyone wished they had. After a snowplough accidentally crashes into the back of their car and sends Paige flying through the windscreen (yes, she wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, but you’ll know why), she is left with the memory of the life she had when she was with her parents, a life that she had left behind and cut off and when she was engaged to another bloke named Jeremy. Unfortunately, Leo is left reeling and distraught because she does not remember anything of the life she had and still has with Leo, let alone who Leo actually is. Poor Leo hadn’t even met her family because she cut them off for a reason she doesn’t even remember. A bit of irony there and you can see how this plays out.
Starting with her parents, who try to worm their way back into her life and get her back into Law school, with her old friends and totally turns her back into this rich “Stepford wife” (as Leo puts it) who is the total opposite of who she became in the 5 years of her life with Leo. However, the family is hiding a secret and this secret is the reason to why Paige had cut the family off. It plays great little twist to the story.
Jeremy on the other hand was dumped by Paige, but now sees the opportunity to also worm his way back into her heart causing an awkward love triangle. I’m not too sure why Paige was so blank and indecisive with her decisions because to be honest, you take a look a Jeremy and then you take a look at Leo… If I had lost my memory and saw the dashing Leo standing there telling me we’re married etc, hell yeah I wouldn’t even think twice about Jeremy! C’mon now.
Paige’s problem was her fear of moving on and not wanting to leave the past because that’s all she knew. Leo’s problem was his ideals on love thrown out of the window and the uncertain questions of how he can make her love him again because he wasn’t giving up on this emotional dilemma of a situation. For better or for worse, for in sickness and in health, I think The Vow was a very suiting title don’t you think?
The flashbacks may have tried a little too hard to convince us of their blissful love in some parts, especially to someone who has quite a cold and blunt ideal of the word but it’s not all sad and soppy though. There are lots of little quirks and funny lines thrown in at the right time to give some realism to the serious nature of what The Vow is meant to be. There’s even a scene where Rachel McAdams is talking and laughing with her mouth filled with chocolate and a piece flies out into her hair. Laughing the incident off, I’m sure this was not scripted, but made the cut.
It’s difficult to compare The Vow to the other great romances like Titanic and The Notebook because of their stable story line. If the romance had failed, we still would have had a sinking ship to look forward to. With The Vow, her family secret was enough, not superglue like, but more PVA. It worked, which is important. Casting Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams for Leo and Paige was perfect and gave the characters that believability. Though Tatum seemed to love getting his kit off throughout, I was not distracted and was professional about it, maybe because I ended up with a dead arm from the excitement my friend just had to release and I just happened to be there. The hair was doing wonders for me though. Sam Neill played Paige’s domineering father who also went to Law school and plays a huge part in “what’s best” for his little girl.
I guess it can be said The Vow is like their Chocolate Roulette session, but in this box, there isn’t a disappointment. I’ll be looking forward to its blu-ray release.