- Rachel McAdams as Paige
- Channing Tatum as Leo
- Jessica Lange as Rita Thornton
- Sam Neill as Bill Thornton
- Scott Speedman as Jeremy
The Vow says that it’s inspired by true events, but any hope for something to invest your time in is destroyed by a sappy and schmaltzy approach that hinders just about everything in the film and makes it forgettable. There was a story here, but it just got lost under all of this corniness.
Young married couple Leo and Paige are madly in love and in a very good place where it appears nothing can touch either of them. They are crazy about the other and both are doing well job wise; Leo has recently opened a record studio and Paige, an art student, is currently crafting a sculpture for an important part of her course. But everything takes a sharp turn when they are both injured in a car accident. Leo comes out with only a few bruises, but Paige suffers damage to her brain that she has to be put in a coma. When she does wake up, she can’t remember anything of her time with Leo. It is as if the last five years of her life have been erased and she still believes that she is living in the past. Leo is understandably devastated by this, but being so devoted to Paige he makes it his mission to woo her again. He hopes that this will help her regain her memories and despite the protests from her estranged parents who come back on the scene, he resolves to do whatever he can to get the woman he loves back. This going to be a lot more difficult than he imagined as Paige seems to gravitate more to how she used to be, which includes the reappearance of her ex boyfriend Jeremy. Yet can Leo really win Paige back with his attempts before it is too late for them anymore? Or is any attempt futile for Paige as she is torn between everything she had and what she could have, due to the gaps in her memory?
Michael Sucsy is I’m sure a good director, but his hand isn’t that assured with The Vow. Though having said that, I think most directors would struggle to make this have an ounce of credence. Although inspired by true events, which I’m sure where a lot more dramatic and heartfelt than what was depicted here, The Vow just simply ambles along the rote formula of romance that isn’t the slightest bit credible. If the film makers had kept the film grounded in some feeling of sincere emotion, then The Vow could have been passable. I get that this is a Hollywood version of the story and some of it is bound to be embellished, but I would have preferred a bit more soul to the whole enterprise. Seriously as I’m writing this review, I am struggling to find something memorable in the film, which is proving a losing task as there is nothing really that redeemable. It moves from one cliché to the next within minutes, with barely anything ringing true in my mind. Sure the premise is one that is definitely emotional, but I wasn’t really touched that much by The Vow, only in fleeting moments that I can count on one hand. And it’s so shamelessly manipulative with what it wants you to feel, but even then, it doesn’t induce the misty eyes it strives to elicit. The visuals are bright and glossy which is pleasing enough, but if more attention was given to the story than crass button-pushing, The Vow may have been at least bearable. I found myself wanting something more real and not as predictable as the end result, sticking to the basis of story and not just going for sudsy melodrama might have helped. And not even a sweet score and soundtrack went any way in making this film an easy pill to swallow.
The pairing of Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum is a nice one, despite the fact the characters are like cardboard cutouts more than people. Both of them are too talented for this sort of film, but try to bring something else. Sadly, that doesn’t come out and even though the chemistry is fine, the writing of the characters undoes any of the attempts made by McAdams or Tatum to make this credible. The blame can’t be put at their door as they at least attempt to salvage the mess, yet the tide of mediocrity from The Vow as a whole is too much against both appealing stars. The same sadly goes for Jessica Lange and Sam Neill, who are both given roles that are one-note to say the least, (that note being nasty and manipulative as Paige’s parents.) Once again, both actors are commendable in their endeavors to save this boring film, but are relegated to underused and not at all given an inch to flex their known skills. I mean, if you are going to hire actors of renown at least give them something to do, that isn’t asking for much is it? Scott Speedman, who has been very good in other movies he’s been in, is also stranded with a role that has no scope, that being the asshole ex of Paige.
So I must say The Vow just wasn’t the film for me. I found myself really disconnecting from it as it walked down the trite road to slush fest. The story had definite potential, but it never went anywhere for me.