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Review: The Vow

February 22, 2012

The Vow

  • Starring: Rachel McAdams (The Notebook), Channing Tatum (Dear John), Sam Neill (Jurassic Park)
  • Directed by: Michael Sucsy
  • Synopsis: “Paige and Leo (Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum) are a happy newlywed couple whose lives are changed by a car accident that puts Paige in a coma.  Waking up with severe memory loss, Paige has no memory of Leo, a confusing relationship with her parents (Sam Neill and Jessica Lange), and an ex-fiancé (Scott Speedman) she may still have feelings for.  Despite these complications, Leo endeavors to win her heart again and rebuild their marriage.” (collider)
  • Rated: PG-13 for some language, partial nudity, intense accident scene, and sexual content
  • Trailer:

One Day, Dear John wrote a Letter to Juliet in The Notebook and made The Vow.” -see what I did there!! Huh?! 😀

2012’s cinematic Valentine’s Day offering “The Vow” stars actor Channing Tatum who attempts to “step up” his game with “mean girl” Rachel McAdams in this romantic drama inspired by true events.

Heading to the cinema on a Saturday night (kicking and screaming might I add), I crammed myself into the theater already full of lovey-dovey couples holding hands, giggling, and whispering sweet nothings into each others’ ears. “Oh, great…it really IS going to be that kind of movie.” I said to myself as the wishful thoughts of hoping I “accidentally” wandered into a screening of Star Wars Episode I or This Means War fluttered away.

Crap.

Disgruntled at myself for making a deal with a friend that now had me sitting in a chair about to watch an actor that I don’t enjoy, I prepared for the worst. Only, the worst wasn’t all that bad.

This romantic drama is little more than a chick-flick. Loaded with high levels of emotions on which it plays, there is a bit of true life in the mix. The best part about this story being told: the cast. Being inspired by the true event that hit the news a few years back, the cast takes on their respective roles and delivers in a way that is quite impressive actually.

  • Rachel McAdams once again proves why she is one formidable actress and often plays the role of the love interest. She is so good at it and draws sympathy, anger, sadness, and love towards her character.
  • Channing Tatum– Okay, he did pretty well too, actually. He plays the part of the forlorn and almost victimized husband quite well. “Victimized” by the events, it is his journey that is focused on the most. His subtle comic relief also played a natural part in the film, making his character a rather likeable guy.
  • Sam Neill, Jessica Lange, and additional cast– exactly what I’d expect from their parts and, while some of their characters were somewhat unnecessary and 1-dimensional, they add enough drama to the screen to make it life-like.

With the premise of the story already being known, I expected a lot more focus to be on McAdams’ character and her journey of lost memories and the hopes of regaining them. I mean, the film could have taken more advantage of the obvious question of if she will regain her memory or fall in love with her husband of five years a whole lot more than it did.

Instead, most of the story dealt solely with Tatum’s character and his struggles to keep his business afloat, to pay his bills, to compete with overbearing parents-in-laws, on top of trying to fight for the love of his life. The film took the central event of the story and placed it in the backseat while focusing on the struggles of the husband and his choice to stay true to his vow of love. While that is a great focus, it left the film lacking.

As far as romantic dramas are concerned, this is a decent film. Avoiding being truly “Hollywood-ized” I can appreciate the fact that I wanted to leave a few times. You say, “What??” Yes, I wanted to leave…not because the film was bad or anything, but because of the level of frustration I began to feel for and with Tatum’s character and the way things were coming at him. It ended up being a lot more relatable than expected. And that’s a good thing, I guess.

Leaving the theater that evening, I had mixed emotions. Full of excitement that I made it through, my debt had been paid 😀 (see my tweet below that I posted directly after), and the movie had ended; but also frustrated with the events that led to the end.

@FilmsWith_T- Impressed with myself for surviving THE VOW…
9:18 PM – 18 Feb 12 via Twitter for Android

I hoped for more, but yet was oddly satisfied with the ending that the majority of viewers did not like. (*shrugs shoulders*) I saw a review somewhere (I apologize, I do not remember where it was.) that read something along these lines: “The Vow is a forgettable movie about memory.” Ha! I tend to agree.

Those who love sappy romantic dramas, I’m sure you can find several reasons to love this film. I liked it, just didn’t love it. Touching, upsetting, endearing, and frustrating. A picture of how life sometimes truly is.

Here’s a vow for you. I vow to not despise Chann…oh what am I thinking? I can’t do it. Sorry. Still not a Chan-Fan. haha. 🙂

Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

Score:  2.5 out of 5 stars for The Vow (right in the middle)

T, The Focused Filmographer

up next: “Trailer Time Thursday” (still finishing up reviews for The Secret World of Arrietty and Take Shelter)

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31 Comments leave one →
  1. February 22, 2012 2:21 pm

    This is a good review of a film which tests the theory of managed expectations, I suppose 🙂
    I like romantic films, but not ones of this ilk typically. It just seemed to saccharine for my taste.

    Like

    • February 22, 2012 11:53 pm

      haha. you definitely picked up on my “expectations vs reality” vibe! ha.

      Like

  2. Cat Woman permalink
    February 22, 2012 2:30 pm

    it was a great movie! glad you went to go see it and that it’s more than a chick flick for sure!

    Like

    • February 22, 2012 11:55 pm

      a “great movie”? I seem to recall you telling a few people NOT to see it. what changed your mind?

      Like

  3. February 22, 2012 2:37 pm

    “You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!” ;-).

    Like

    • February 22, 2012 11:55 pm

      *takes a bow* haha

      Like

  4. February 22, 2012 2:41 pm

    I agree with you on your views, especially the one’s of Channing. I enjoyed him in this as well, but Im still not a fan of this guys work at all. I honestly believe it was partly McAdams who made him more appealing…lol

    Like

    • February 22, 2012 11:59 pm

      I’d like to see Tatum become better. I’m a fan of people improving themselves. He needs to continue working with talented actors to do so. Working with McAdams seemed to really help.

      Like

  5. February 22, 2012 4:05 pm

    Ahah, somehow Channing Tatum and forlorn just seems like an oxymoron. Sorry my friend buy the chance of me seeing this is nill to none so I’m glad you’re still not a Chan-Fan. Dan from Top 10 UK said in his recent comment that he’d never see a movie starring Timberlake and I kind of feel that way about Channing, unless he’s just got a small part in it like in Haywire 🙂

    Like

    • February 23, 2012 12:00 am

      I don’t blame you. Don’t worry.

      ooh, and I can’t wait for your thoughts on Haywire. ha.

      Like

  6. yaykisspurr permalink
    February 22, 2012 4:42 pm

    hehe! I reluctantly want to see this…some instinct of mine says I will like it. Like you I am not a Channing fan but just from the trailer you can see he has his moments in this film. I’m also not a rom-com fan either…it does stump me a bit that I even feel I should see this movie at all…

    It’ll be a toss up whether I actually get to see it but I share some of the commenter’s opinion that I’m glad you saw it 😉 From your take on the perspective of the story being all on Channing it makes the movie more palatable for some reason.

    A nice review! Cheers…

    Like

    • February 23, 2012 12:01 am

      don’t do it!!! ha 🙂

      thanks for the kind comment.

      Like

  7. February 22, 2012 4:49 pm

    As a chick-flick lover who loves Miss McAdams…I actually cannot agree with you more! Fantastic review! 🙂

    Like

    • February 23, 2012 12:02 am

      Courtney. welcome. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Glad that we see eye to eye on this one. Appreciate the comment.

      Like

  8. February 23, 2012 3:00 am

    HEHEH Great write up matey!! Not a film I would be rushing out to see, and then writing about it! Well done sir… better than I thought it would get

    Like

    • February 24, 2012 10:26 am

      lol. Thanks Scott. It was fun writing it. I’ll be curious if it receives a score over at FRC.

      Like

  9. February 23, 2012 6:19 am

    Sound the bell, Terrence made it through The Vow!!! 😀 Well I guess that’s a good thing you wanted to leave because of the main character’s frustration rather than the movie being bad 😉

    Like

    • February 24, 2012 10:27 am

      yep, it happened. hahaha.

      Like

  10. February 23, 2012 9:26 am

    Great review – does make me feel like I’ve seen the film and can thereby have no need to actually see it.

    But between you and me, one rainy afternoon when I’m feeling like I need a duvet day and this is suddenly on TV, I’ll probably be watching it.

    Like

    • February 24, 2012 10:28 am

      Thanks Jaina. Well, on that one rainy afternoon, I think I’d rather play Call of Duty on XBOX 360! ha! But you enjoy. 🙂

      Like

  11. February 23, 2012 1:01 pm

    A brave choice to see this. My wife wanted to see it but I managed to talk her out of it. Not for me this one.

    Like

    • February 24, 2012 10:28 am

      yes! I was indeed quite brave, wasn’t I?! hahaha.

      I need your powers of persuasion apparently.

      Like

      • February 29, 2012 8:51 am

        The weird thing is that I said I didn’t want to see it without knowing anything about it apart from a brief synopsis. I saw the trailer and thought – actually this might not be so bad. In fact, the film looked far more appealing than Wanderlust!

        Like

      • February 29, 2012 9:04 am

        on that note, I am pretty sure it is more appealing than Wanderlust. I think I’d choose The Vow over Rudd an Aniston’s flop myself.

        Like

  12. February 26, 2012 8:23 am

    I just saw this yesterday. I didn’t hate it though ha2 as you say I didn’t hate these kind of movies. Thanks for sharing your opinion.

    Like

    • February 27, 2012 9:00 am

      And thank YOU for checking them out.

      Like

  13. February 27, 2012 4:09 pm

    Great review! While I agree that the wife’s story was often a side note, I like the idea that it wasn’t all about her, showing that she’s not the only one affected by the trauma. I have a vow for you! I vow not to make deals with you anymore 😉

    Like

    • February 28, 2012 8:05 am

      🙂 glad you enjoyed the review! Thanks.

      Like

  14. February 27, 2012 5:40 pm

    Better you than me. 😀

    Like

    • February 28, 2012 8:06 am

      haha! thanks! LOL

      Like

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  1. Movie News Monday for May 7, 2012 « The Focused Filmographer

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