THE VOW (U)
Release Date: 23 March 2012
Running Time: 104 minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Director: Michael Sucsy
Screenplay: Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein, Michael Sucsy
Starring: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Sam Neill, Scott Speedman, Jessica Lange, Jessica McNamee
Plot: A newlywed couple recovers from a car accident that puts the wife in a coma. Waking up with severe memory loss, her husband endeavors to win her heart again. REVIEW AFTER THE JUMP
Review: Love is both crazy and blind but who are we to say otherwise. Love is a celebration of passion and feeling, but it could have means more depending on whom they are. In ‘The Vow’, we are served with a golden ticket to remind ourselves about the appreciation and the acceptance of love. While love is pretty much subjective sometimes, here in this romantic movie of the year, we have the opportunity to catch Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams doing the ‘lovey dovey things’ together. That should be interesting enough to generate the intriguing factor to see this movie after all. So put aside the star factor, what kind of this movie ended as? Will ‘The Vow’ wows the inspiration of love that folds the message of appreciation in a strong package or will it be just another fail to deliver no thanks to its uninspiring plots?
‘The Vow’ is inspired by a true event. The movie depicts a young and newlywed Chicago couple – Leo (Channing Tatum) and Paige (Rachel McAdams) who tries to recover from recent car accident. That unfortunate chapter of their life has put the couple in an awkward situation that will eventually change their life forever. Following the accident, Paige was put in a coma-induced state. Too much of Leo’s dismay, Paige woke up with severe memory loss and she has no collection of any event predating the time when they both start to fall in love. Basically, she doesn’t know who he is as for her, Leo is a stranger. To add more salt on the wound, Leo found out that Paige is now a different person from whom she was. Then, the true love prevails somehow as Leo endeavors to win her heart again despite receiving challenges and objections from Paige’s family members.
Does ‘The Vow’ bring a new inspiration of love after all? No, it doesn’t. Since this is an inspired tale from a true story, there is not much fresh spins to offer anyway. For most of the plot, it seems familiar and without originality. There are too many similarities with some of the big hits like ’50 First Dates’ and ‘The Notebook’, or even with some other mediocre titles. The memory loss plays a huge part or role in the story and the characters but is easily overpowered by the classical stereotype of romantic features. The major symptom is that it never been too difficult for the writers always to allow their couples setting for an emotional journey to redeem the ‘second chance’ in relationship. Then, the ‘second chance’ also extended in one way of another involving Paige’s father (Sam Neill) and her ex-fiance Jeremy (Scott Speedman), where both poised to take advantage from her memory loss for their own.
Then, there are some questions on the believability in the sense of how things truly making sense here. One could suspect this is a tear-jerking melodrama that begs for one’s sympathy. It may works well for certain quarters of the audience but it remains far to be seen that this is indeed a strong and emotional drama. Yes, for some part the audience may feel the pain, especially towards the frustration of Leo in handling his life and to win Paige’s heart back. But then, the emotion is too mild to be seen.
On its superficial, ‘The Vow’ should have no problem to disguise itself with the sweetness and bitterness examination about love within the memory loss. However, if you are digging for more, ‘The Vow’ doesn’t show the realistic topics that could hurt the relationship. The movie does not convincingly shows that Leo is the kind of guy Paige ever wanted. How less confused Paige is when she is confronted by both Leo and Jeremy? The movie also fails to explain about the heavy subject on the confinement boundary of sensuality and sexuality. What about the logic of Paige’s career choice after all when she later claimed have no collection on how to use the sculptor?
For that I believe the movie has lost its objectivity to highlight the pains and gains for the male character to endeavor and to win their female counterpart once more. Instead it becomes a shallow probing movie to provide a simple plot structure and to close the whole loop with a questionable closure. So to say, ‘The Vow’ has every potential to show the melodrama to a good use but only to have itself to crumble beyond the border.
If there is some part of the movie that delivers, it would have been Rachel McAdams. She is been herself as always – giving her past experience in dealing major romantic adaptation that she is very comfortable in portraying Paige. You could have questioned her sanity and stands throughout the movie but she is a consistent actress who can attract everyone to her more than to the movie. Her opposite in the form of Channing Tatum is largely the sympathetic character we could have root for. He is largely auspicious but his emotional variance is still narrow.
In the end, ‘The Vow’ is a less stellar adaptation that is far from been the next ’50 First Dates’ or ‘The Notebook’ due to its largely uninspiring and stereotypical story plot that suppresses the real emotion and anguish from the characters. It is largely a shallow probing movie that fails to answer the question it posed.
"THE VOW" is showing in cinemas nationwide. For ticketing at GSC, please go to this link.